RAMSI Review Delayed

Prime Minister Sogavare accuses Australia of meddling in local politics. [AFP file photo]
Last Updated 24/04/2007, 17:05:11

The first of two scheduled reviews of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) has been delayed after the review team became stranded in Fiji.

Pacific correspondent Campbell Cooney reports that the Solomons government hopes the review will ultimately set a timetable for the removal of RAMSI.

The preliminary review was to have begun today, but the two-member team, which includes former Fijian Foreign Affairs minister Kaliopate Tavola and former New Zealand diplomat Neil Walters, has been delayed in Fiji after their flight was cancelled due to fog.

They are now scheduled to arrive in Solomons on Thursday.

Their six-day visit will investigate the reasons for RAMSI's intervention in 2003, as well as its mandate and progress made so far.

The review will also consider the impact of RAMSI's continued presence on Solomon Islands sovereignty.

The government of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has been sharply critical of RAMSI and has accused it of meddling in domestic politics.

The government first called for the review at last year's Pacific Island Forum leaders meeting in Fiji.

The preliminary review's report will be presented to Forum Foreign Affairs Ministers before a more detailed review is carried out later this year

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