24 Apr 2007

Solomon Islands hopes RAMSI review will consider when the mission should leave

1:51 pm on 24 April 2007

The Solomon Island's government hopes a review of the Regional Assistance Mission will consider if some of their work is now done, or close to completion.

The Pacific Islands Forum has sent two delegates to Honiara today for a review as requested by the Solomons' Prime Minister at last year's Forum summit.

The secretary to prime minister and cabinet, Dr John Roughan, says the situation in the Solomons' now, compared with when the mission first arrived, is like comparing chalk with cheese.

He says RAMSI has done marvellous work, but in many areas it might now be time to provide any help still needed on a bilateral basis:

"RAMSI just cannot see itself as looking for new vistas to help in, but there are already mechanisms there that say: Fine perhaps we should be assisting the Solomon Islands through the bi-lateral means rather than the RAMSI means. So the RAMSI ultimately must leave. Now what's the time frame; five years, ten years, there should be a gradual process of seeing where they have been successful then slowly fading out of the picture."

Dr Roughan says the Solomon's government is still keen to see the mission less Australian dominated and a greater region wide involvement.