25 Aug 2013

Goff warns more Solomons conflict possible

9:51 am on 25 August 2013

A former foreign affairs minister is warning it is possible there will be more conflict in Solomon Islands, despite a deacde of international support that has cost New Zealand and Australia almost $3 billion.

Labour Party MP Phil Goff held the foreign affairs portfolio in 2003 when soldiers and police were sent to the strife-torn country in the form of the Regional Assistance Mission (RAMSI) after five years of bloody civil unrest.

In recognition of the country's stability, RAMSI has now been scaled down to provide policing only.

Mr Goff says RAMSI has given Solomon Islands a reasonable chance of building on foundations that can achieve economic and social progress.

"I'm also conscious of the unvarnished views of some of the US diplomats, by virtue of Wikileaks, that felt that post the withdrawal of RAMSI, everything that could be achieved could be lost quite quickly," he says.

Mr Goff says all Pacific countries will need to continue to provide support and there is no guarantee of success.