The 6th meeting of the Forum Ministerial Standing Committee (FMSC) on the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) has concluded in Honiara noting significant progress of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) and the improved security situation in Solomon Islands with further discussions on the planned withdrawal of RAMSI’s military component in the second half of 2013.
In opening the Ministerial Meeting the Hon. Walter Folotalu, Acting Prime Minister & Minister for Communications and Civil Aviation remarked that as the meeting reflected on the many achievements that RAMSI has made over the last nine years, under successive Solomon Islands Governments (SIG) that it was fitting that we remind ourselves of what our Forum Leaders entrusted this forum to do. The wisdom behind the existence of this FMSC must be respected and Solomon Island respects that.
Mr Folotalu further emphasised that : “It is the wish of this country that you note their concerns, acknowledge their challenges and establish an agreed way forward. All of us will be judged not by how RAMSI began but how it was completed. We want to leave behind a Solomon Islands that is stronger, more resilient and more capable to handle its internal and external issues. We want to be able to tell the rest of the world that we are able to address our regional issues in a meaningful and sustainable manner.”
The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Mr Tuiloma Neroni Slade acknowledged the work undertaken by RAMSI over the past nine years has seen significant successes, particularly in the rebuilding of the economic infrastructure, policing and correctional services, and endeavours to ensure long-term sustainability of the country in line with the SIG-RAMSI Partnership Framework.
“At the same time, challenges remain and will continue to be in existence in the course of advancing the work of RAMSI, including during the transition period. The solution to addressing the challenges faced by the Solomon Islands can only be found through genuine negotiations between parties, and a clear identification of the priorities of the government,” said Mr Slade.
The Hon Clay Forau Soalaoi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Solomon Islands; the Hon. Richard Marles MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs of Australia; Hon. Teinakore Bishop, Minister of Education, Marine Resources and Tourism of the Cook Islands; Hon. Alfred Carlot, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vanuatu attended the one day meeting.
The meeting was also attended by the Triumvirate comprising the RAMSI Special Coordinator, Mr Nicholas Coppel; Solomon Islands Permanent Secretary for RAMSI, Mr Jeffrey Scott-Kauha; and the Pacific Islands Forum Representative to Solomon Islands, Mr Sakiusa Rabuka. As the representative of the Forum Chair, the meeting was chaired by Ms Ruth Nuttall.
The 6th FMSC discussed the implementation of the Solomon Islands Government-RAMSI Partnership Agreement, the RAMSI 2011 Annual Performance Report, as well as matters relating to RAMSI’s Transition phase and its drawdown.