The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) Special Coordinator, Mr Quinton Devlin, has welcomed the endorsement by Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leaders that the significant progress made by Solomon Islands since 2003 permits the conclusion of RAMSI’s policing assistance mission in June next year.
Acknowledging the withdrawal of RAMSI in June 2017, the 16 regional leaders – who met in the Federated States of Micronesia on Friday and Saturday last week – congratulated Solomon Islands and RAMSI on the significant progress made so far in the drawdown of RAMSI.
They applauded RAMSI as a regional success story that had also contributed to strengthening regional cooperation and capacity building on security.
Special Coordinator Quinton Devlin said: “Given that Pacific Islands Forum Leaders authorised the RAMSI mission in 2003 and all 15 other PIF nations contribute personnel to the Mission in Solomon Islands, it was fitting that Leaders reviewed RAMSI’s achievements and the tremendous strides made by Solomon Islands over the last 13 years at their last scheduled Leaders meeting before RAMSI departs in 10 months’ time”.
“Implicit in the Leaders’ remarks is a recognition that Solomon Islands has recovered the ground lost during the Tensions and the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force can now respond effectively to crime, civil disturbances and threats to national security,” he said.
“The need for a 15-nation security assistance mission is nearing an end.”
In their Forum Communique, Pacific Leaders also welcomed commitments from the Governments of Australia and New Zealand that support to Solomon Islands will continue post-RAMSI, including to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, and will be developed in close consultation and coordination with the Solomon Islands Government.
The Leaders also welcomed the initiative taken by the Solomon Islands Government in addressing the underlying causes of the ethnic tension, which include prioritisation and sequencing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations, land reform initiatives, legislative reforms, economic development initiatives and healing processes.
RAMSI is a cooperative partnership between Solomon Islands and the other 15 PIF nations under Australia’s leadership that today focuses on police training, mentoring and infrastructure development with a view to handing over full responsibility for policing and national security by 30 June 2017. In August, PIF Foreign Ministers described RAMSI as a ‘shining example of Pacific diplomacy and cooperation’.