Senior representatives from Pacific Island Forum (PIF) nations welcomed the strong partnership between the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) and the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) and preparations for the drawdown of RAMSI at the 12th meeting of the Enhanced Consultative Mechanism (ECM) meeting held in Honiara on 14 April 2016
The ECM is an annual meeting that monitors the performance of RAMSI. It involved representatives from six Pacific Islands Forum countries, SIG and RAMSI, and was organised by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
At the meeting, SIG and RAMSI officials shared their priorities and plans with the PIF nation representatives, including on preparations for RAMSI’s drawdown and the staged limited rearmament of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF).
“It was very pleasing to have the opportunity to demonstrate to the region the close collaboration and alignment between SIG and RAMSI as the RSIPF prepares to take over the last remaining policing responsibilities in Solomon Islands when RAMSI exits in mid-2017,” said Quinton Devlin, Special Coordinator of RAMSI.
“I believe the visiting regional officials will leave Solomon Islands with a clear sense that the SIG and RSIPF have taken large strides towards developing a truly independent, modern, professional and accountable police force and that they are ready to assume the final elements of policing and national security responsibilities,” said Mr Devlin.
The RAMSI Special Coordinator added: “The Solomon Islands Government has demonstrated, particularly through its commitments to further RSIPF budgetary support, that it is committed to the stability and security of this nation, which will be essential for further development and economic growth.”
Acknowledging that Pacific Island Forum Leaders authorised the RAMSI mission in 2003, the ECM meeting participants anticipated PIF Leaders may wish to de-commission RAMSI formally when they meet in September later this year.
The meeting also confirmed that the Solomon Islands, Australia and New Zealand were having in-depth talks about ongoing bilateral security support to Solomon Islands after mid-2017.
Mr Devlin acknowledged that the enormous progress made by Solomon Islands over the last 13 years permitted the normalisation of regional support to the RSIPF.
“The need for a 15-country post-conflict stabilisation force like RAMSI is near an end,” he said.
RAMSI, the PIF-endorsed multinational regional intervention that restored law and order and stabilised the finances of Solomon Islands following the Tensions, is scheduled to end in June 2017.