18 Jul 2008

Japan offer of help may not fit regional mandate, says RAMSI

9:57 am on 18 July 2008

The deputy special co-ordinator of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands says Japan's offer of help to RAMSI may not transpire due to the operation's regional mandate.

The 2nd Meeting of the Forum Ministerial Standing Committee(FMSC) in Honiara has agreed to look into Japan's offer of help.

The meeting was attended by Foreign Affairs Ministers from Australia, Solomon Islands and Tonga as well as ministers from Niue and Papua New Guinea.

Japan's proposal concerns RAMSI's civilian component, mostly providing advisors and helping with the mission's development arm.

Jonathan Austin says the meeting's delegates welcomed the proposal, but noted that Japan doesn't fit the criteria of a regional mission consisting solely of Pacific Forum members.

"So there's a balance to be struck between trying to accommodate Japan's interest while still making it quite clear that this is a regional Pacific Forum initiative. What ministers felt was they needed a little bit more detail about what Japan was proposing and they also needed the leaders of other Forum member coutries to be consulted about the basic idea first before they could reach any decision."