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RAMSI a perfect example of Regionalism

By STEPHEN DIISANGO

PACIFIC Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) Directory Sione Tekiteki says the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) is a perfect example of regionalism.

Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor who was unable to make it at the opening of the Symposium this morning due to flight delay from PNG to Honiara Mr Tekiteki says:

“RAMSI which comes to an official end very shortly, is a perfect example of the benefit of regionalism, embodying more than a decade of partnership and cooperation amongst the members of the Pacific Islands Forum in the true Pacific spirit of “helpem fren”.

He adds that a defining element of RAMSI has been its Pacific regional character.

“As you will recall, RAMSI was mobilised under the Biketawa Declaration, a regional instrument endorsed by Forum Leaders enabling and sanctioning the regional response. And of course, Forum countries contributed openly and generously once the mission was established.  

“RAMSI has been, without a doubt, a true regional exercise in solidarity and a shining example of Pacific cooperation,” he says.

He says, “We must acknowledge the people of Solomon Islands themselves for their widespread support for RAMSI, which was essential for the successful operation of the mission.”

He adds that the effectiveness of any armed intervention, particularly in a civilian landscape, relies heavily on the conduct of its personnel.

“We must, as a region, thank and acknowledge the thousands of women and men from across this region who served under RAMSI over the years, and whose service personified and honoured the commitment made to the Solomon Islands by all Forum countries under the Biketawa Declaration.

“The particularly regional dimension of this support is without doubt one of the contributing factors to its success,” he says.

He says the early achievements of RAMSI which enable successive reforms and programmes including swift and peaceful restoration of law and order, recovery and prosecution of the bulk of illegal weapons, surrender of militants and the arrest and prosecution of human rights offenders must be applauded.

“These achievements not only restored stability but also contributed toward restoring a sense of peace amongst Solomon Islanders,” he adds.

He says the early accomplishments of RAMSI were closely followed by significant reforms under the three pillars of economic reform, law and justice, and machinery of government, resulting in the gradual shift in focus from its security component to the civilian component.

The subsequent recovery journey of the Solomon Islands has included the successful hosting of several large and important events in the last few years:

·         The highly successful Pacific Arts Festival in 2012;

·         The visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2012;

·         The visit by United States Secretary of State John Kerry in 2014;

·         The Melanesian Spearhead Group Summit in 2015; and

·         The conduct of the 2006, 2010 and 2014 national elections.                                 

“These are significant achievements by any standard, but more so for a country that only fourteen years ago was faced by considerable challenges to the effective functioning of government as well as the overall law and order situation. 

“Although it was the embodiment of Pacific solidarity and cooperation, it is important to remember that RAMSI also required considerable resourcing: Australia and New Zealand stepped forward with both financial and personnel contributions, complemented by Pacific nations’ personnel.”

© Solomon Fresh-Beat Online News Service

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