25 Aug 2010

RAMSI mandate could be reworked under new Solomons PM

9:53 pm on 25 August 2010

The newly elected Solomon Islands Prime Minister has announced he has no intention of asking the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission, RAMSI, to leave his country.

Following weeks of political lobbying, Danny Philip won the Prime Minister's job by securing a small majority of support among the country's 50 MPs.

In his first public statements since being sworn in, Mr Philip declared himself a leader that RAMSI can work with but hinted at some reworking of the mission's mandate.

Dr Jon Fraenkel of the Australian National University's College of Asia and the Pacific says RAMSI may have concerns about Mr Philip's support for a Forgiveness Bill related to the years of ethnic tension.

"I think there will also be concerns on the part of RAMSI about the composition of the coalition that Danny Philip is heading and the ministerial portfolios that are handed out. Certainly if some of the former militants like Jimmy Rasta Lusibaea are given portfolios, there'll be ramnifications then."

Jon Fraenkel