Wednesday, 2 May 2007, 7:46 pm
Press Release: Secretariat of the Pacific Community
The Pacific Islands Forum Taskforce to review the Regional Assistance Mission in Solomon Islands (RAMSI) today completed six days of consultations with stakeholders in what is the first phase of a two-phase process.
The review was mandated by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders at their 37th Summit in Nadi, Fiji last year following a country paper by the Solomon Islands Government.
The two-member Taskforce included Mr Kaliopate Tavola, former Foreign Minister of Fiji and Mr Neil Walter, a former New Zealand diplomat. They were assisted by staff of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
“Despite the short time available to us, we have been able to get a wide variety of views from the Governor General, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, the Leader of Opposition and his group, Permanent Secretaries, RAMSI, development partners, non-government and civil society organizations, women, youth and business representatives and other individuals on the way forward for the Mission,” Messers Tavola and Walter said.
“We have listened intently to all the views of the stakeholders in the last few days which will enable us to formulate a road map aimed at enhancing the partnership between the people of Solomon Islands through their government and contributing countries to RAMSI,” the Taskforce members said
“One thing that all the stakeholders agree on is the good work that RAMSI has done in the past four years to bring Solomon Islands out of the situation it was thrown into following the effects of the social unrest between 1998 and 2003.”
“We commend the Solomon Islands Government and RAMSI for making progress in what is a very difficult operation.”
The Taskforce is expected to visit the provinces and consult with other individuals and organizations and some contributing countries on the work of RAMSI during the second phase of the review expected in June.
The final report of the Forum RAMSI Review Taskforce, which will be completed after the second phase, will be submitted to the Forum Foreign Affairs Ministers who are expected to make recommendations to the Forum Leaders.