The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, thanked members of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) Participating Police Force in Honiara this week for their personal contributions and their country’s support to RAMSI and investment in regional peace and stability.
Minister Bishop acknowledged the RAMSI intervention had been an overwhelming success and said the police, military and civilian contributions of the 15 Pacific Islands Forum nations – particularly the Pacific Islands nations – have been at the core of RAMSI’s strength and achievements.
“RAMSI, under Australia’s leadership, helped restore law and order, rebuild national institutions and resurrect the economy of Solomon Islands in partnership with successive Solomon Islands governments,” she said.
Minister Bishop also applauded the enormous strides taken by the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) in recent times.
“After nearly 14 years of RAMSI support, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force is now one of the best trained police forces in the Pacific and I warmly welcome Solomon Islands assurances that it is ready for RAMSI’s conclusion in June 2017.”
“We can be very proud of our collective efforts.”
Minister Bishop added that: “Australia has a strong interest in the ongoing security of our Pacific neighbours, and while RAMSI will end, Australia’s support for Solomon Islands and its security institutions will continue”.
Foreign Minister Bishop visited the RSIPF Headquarters in West Honiara on 6 December 2016. She was accompanied by the Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Concetta Fierravante-Wells, and their shadow counterparts, Senator Penny Wong and Senator Claire Moore.
Since 2003, Australia has led and largely financed the RAMSI security and development assistance mission, which was requested by Solomon Islands and authorised by Pacific Leaders following five years of ethnic tensions and armed conflict. In 2013, RAMSI’s military contingent withdrew, responsibility for its civilian development programs shifted to the Australian Government and other bilateral donors, and RAMSI became solely a police assistance mission.