Pacific Islands Forum Leaders, meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, welcomed the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).
- Recalling the Outcome Statement issued by Forum Foreign Affairs Ministers at their meeting in Sydney on 30 June 2003, Leaders warmly commended the swift and cooperative response of Forum members in deploying the agreed policing operation to help restore law and order, supported by armed peace-keepers, and a programme of assistance to strengthen the justice system and restore the economy and basic services.
- Leaders expressed their pleasure at the strong support within Solomon Islands for the assistance programme, as evidenced by a unanimous resolution of the Solomon Islands Parliament, unanimous passage of enabling legislation, and formal invitation letters from the Governor-General, acting on the advice of Cabinet, to Australia, and to Forum members via the Forum Chair, requesting assistance as endorsed by Forum Foreign Affairs Ministers.
- Leaders noted that in responding to the request of the Solomon Islands Government, Forum members would at all times be acting to reinforce Solomon Islands sovereignty and in accordance with Solomon Islands law. They also noted that the success of the operation would depend on continuing close cooperation with the Solomon Islands Government public sector agencies, community organisations and the people of Solomon Islands.
- Leaders expressed their appreciation of the contribution being made by personnel from Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Tonga, and noted with further appreciation that police from other Forum members would be deployed shortly.
- Leaders warmly welcomed statements from the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and of the Commonwealth supporting their collaborative action in support of Solomon Islands.
- Leaders were heartened by reports from the Prime Ministers of the Solomon Islands and Australia on the current situation in Honiara following arrival of RAMSI, including the strong positive community reaction and support and the marked improvement in law and order. They particularly welcomed initial achievements, especially weapons surrenders. They called on Solomon Islanders to do all in their power to ensure the assistance programme delivered lasting benefits and peace to all.
- Leaders acknowledged that recovery in Solomon Islands would be a long-term task, extending beyond the restoration of law and order to economic and governance rehabilitation and reform. In so doing, they recorded their view that the 2000 Biketawa Declaration had proved its value by enabling the rapid mobilisation of support to address the serious situation.
- Leaders noted the intention of Prime Ministers Kemakeza and Howard to report jointly on a quarterly basis to leaders via the Forum Chair on progress made. They also noted that mechanisms would be put in place for RAMSI to provide frequent briefing for the Chair to report to Forum countries on a regular basis.
Auckland, New Zealand
15 August 2003