The recent outcome of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) leaders meeting on RAMSI as a regional success story has been hailed by the government as preparation to farewell the mission progresses.
RAMSI which has only nine lefts in the country had contributed to strengthening regional cooperation and capacity building on security in the country.
In welcoming the PIF Leaders’ outcome, SIG Special Secretary to RAMSI, John Walton Wasi said, “I am very happy with the PIF Leaders outcome as it reflects the hard work that has been done under this regional initiative.”
“Moreover, the Leaders have acknowledged the great support from the Government and people of Solomon Islands to RAMSI over the years and this is reflected in our current situation whereby the country is able to progress forward after the perils of the past.”
The 47th Pacific Islands Forum was held in Ponphei, Federated States of Micronesia, from 8th to 10th September 2016 and was attended by Heads of States and Government from Australia, Cook Islands, FSM, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The Solomon Islands was represented by Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga, who headed a 13-member strong Government delegation to the event.
The Forum Leaders Retreat was held the FSM Congress Chamber in Palikir where the Leaders applauded the regional success story that also contributed to strengthening regional cooperation and capacity building on security.
The Leaders welcomed the initiatives by the Solomon Islands Government in addressing the underlying causes of the ethnic tension, which include prioritization and sequencing of the Truth and reconciliation Commissions recommendations, land reform initiatives, legislative reforms, economic development initiatives and healing processes.
The PIF Leaders also welcomed commitments from the Governments of Australia and New Zealand that support to Solomon Islands will continue post-RAMSI, including to the Solomon Islands Police Force, and will be developed in close consultations and coordination with the Solomon Islands Government.
Leaders applauded the significant progress made so far in the drawdown of RAMSI and supported the oversight role of Pacific Islands Forum on the eventual withdrawal of RAMSI in June 2017.
Preparations for the eventual withdrawal of RAMSI in Solomon Islands within the next nine months has been well underway, Mr Maelanga told Leaders at the PIF Summit during his intervention on RAMSI, with a draft program expected to be ready by the end of the year.
“We have only 9 months before RAMSI leaves the Solomon Islands and efforts to design a post RAMSI bilateral programs with Australia and New Zealand have been well underway.
“We anticipate a draft program to be ready by end of the year for internal consultation with national stakeholders before a final program is signed,” Mr Maelanga said.
“The RAMSI drawdown has been going on well for the last 3 years or so and much has been implemented through the various programs.”
“Today, the partnership between SIG/RAMSI is built on providing the platform for confidence and readiness of RSIPF to take the role after RAMSI leaves.
“In the last 6 months, SIG and RAMSI have been working closely on the programs under the draw down strategy, and this include Police Capacity and Capability development, Limited and Staged Rearmament, Crime Prevention strategy 2016-2018 and community Policing and the overlapping programs on Family Protection Act and Gender issues.”
Hon Maelanga also told the Forum that the Solomon Islands Government has also been doing its contributions towards the eventual RAMSI withdrawal in committing resources and finances.
“It would also remiss of me not to mention that the DCC Government is also committing a lot of efforts to support RSIPF and the other Law Enforcement Agencies in the discharge of their respective responsibilities. In 2016, the DCCG have committed an increase of 19% of budget support to RSIPF and this indicates the importance of the work of RSIPF especially when we are progressing towards the withdrawal of RAMSI in 2017.”
Hon Maelanga also used the opportunity to inform all Leaders that SIG is now working on the arrangements for the farewell of RAMSI in June next year.
Special Secretary Wasi said the RAMSI farewell event is to thank all members of RAMSI for their participation for the last 14 years, and the Government, on behalf of the Prime Minister, the Government and people of Solomon Islands, will invite all Leaders to this important event.
“As we know, the Leaders have Commissioned RAMSI and it is also fitting that we as Leaders De-commission RAMSI next year. Invitations will be given to all Leaders through the formal process and we look forward to host you next year.”
“Equally important, we would also like to thank all Forum members who have participated in the mission. We have come this far and have provided many positive things for the people of Solomon Islands. Hence, we should be proud of our mission which is a true reflection of Pacific Solidarity for Helpem Fren as well as a true manifestation of Pacific regionalism”, said Hon Maelanga.
The Forum Leaders Retreat was held the FSM Congress Chamber in Palikir on 10th September 2016.
French Polynesia and New Caledonia have been admitted as the latest full members of the Pacific Islands Forum during the 47th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in Ponphei, FSM.
Prime Minister’s Press Secretariat Office