13 Mar 2007

Solomon Islands government wants representatives on RAMSI outreach programme

4:44 pm on 13 March 2007

There is a push for Solomon Islands government representatives to be involved in any visits to rural areas undertaken by the Regional Assistance Mission, RAMSI.

The prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, sent a letter to RAMSI telling it to stop its outreach programme to the provinces over concerns about the way it was being done.

Mr Sogavare has said that RAMSI conducting an independent public relations campaign implies it is not answerable to the government and it won't accept that because it undermines its sovereign authority.

Government representatives have been on previous RAMSI visits to the provinces.

The P.M.'s press secretary, Deli Oso, says, however, they need to be involved now .

"That's what the government sees that RAMSI should be doing, to involve government representatives in each mission to meet with the people in the provinces. Now, it sees that RAMSI is just going around doing propaganda, trying to create a better image for themselves."

Ms Oso says a meeting needs to take place between the government and RAMSI over the issue.

She also says officials from the Forum Secretariat have arrived in Honiara to follow up on the terms of reference for a review of RAMSI.