17 Jan 2008

New Solomon Islands government reiterates support for RAMSI

11:57 am on 17 January 2008

The Solomon Islands has reiterated its support for an Australian-led law and order mission but wants to play a bigger role in the initiative to maintain stability and security on the island.

The new Solomons Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua will meet, Kevin Rudd, in Canberra next week as the two countries seek to repair damaged relations between the two countries.

Dr Sikua became prime minister last month following the ousting of his controversial predecessor Manasseh Sogavare in a no-confidence vote in parliament.

Mr Sogavare had been embroiled in a series of disputes with Canberra over the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands or RAMSI, which he accuses of pursuing an Australian agenda.

The Solomon Islands High Commissioner Victor Ngele met Labor's Parliamentary secretary for Pacific affairs, Duncan Kerr, at Parliament House yesterday, ahead of Dr Sikua's three-day visit to Australia.

Mr Kerry says there is a very positive attitude towards RAMSI now from Solomon Islands.

Mr Ngele said Dr Sikua would reinforce the Solomons government support for RAMSI when he meets Mr Rudd next Wednesday.