PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare says the significant achievements made by the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands reflect the importance of Pacific diplomacy, solidarity and cooperation.
The Prime Minister made the remarks when the motion for Parliament to resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House to consider a joint report by the Solomon Islands Government and RAMSI on the 14-year intervention.”
“RAMSI was the first mission under the Biketawa Declaration that tested the cooperative arrangements of the region,” Mr Sogavare said.
“RAMSI has achieved significant results for Solomon Islands and the (Pacific) region. It is in this context that the RAMSI intervention reflects the importance of Pacific diplomacy, solidarity and cooperation.”
Mr Sogavare said these achievements are worthy of the commendation and gratitude of Solomon Islands Parliament because they set the fundamentals of a society on the path to peace and happy co-existence- the very values that were sorely tested during the ethnic crisis.
He said the existence and evolution of RAMSI was based on the spectrum of stabilisation to capacity-building and thereafter withdrawal.
“You will note from the report that RAMSI begun with intervention and stabilisation of law and order from 2003-2004, institutional strengthening from 2004-2005, capacity development from 2006-2008, transition from 2009-2013 and police development and drawdown strategy from 2013-2017.
“These phases provided the impetus for RAMSI to assess its engagement with Solomon Islands and move on with achieving our mutual aims and objectives.”
Mr Sogavare said the outcomes of the reviews carried out during RAMSI’s existence in Solomon Islands were consistent and provided more strength to the partnership between the Solomon Islands Government and the other 15 member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum.
He said these reviews, which include the 2004 Bipartisan Solomon Islands Intervention Taskforce, the 2005 Pacific Islands Forum Eminent Persons Group, the 2007 Pacific Islands Forum Review, the 2009 Foreign Relations Committee Report and the 2014 Independent Report Commissioned by the Solomon Islands Government, provided more strength to the partnership.
The prime minister said there were times that this partnership was tested, but these tests positively shaped this relationship. “We became stronger and more understanding of each other.”
As the RAMSI Operation ‘HelpimFren’ concludes this week, Mr Sogavare said Solomon Islands stands at the crossroads of taking full responsibility for its affairs.
He said the journey ahead will be challenging and requires the solemn responsibility and commitment of every Solomon Islands leader and individual to work together and stand in unison for the good of present and future generations.
Prime Minister Sogavare said the legacy of RAMSI is a testimony of shared goals to ensure Solomon Islands is a safe and secure nation
“The legacy of RAMSI is a testimony to all Solomon Islanders that conflict has no place in our beautiful society.
“The legacy of RAMSI is an affirmation of the importance of providing leadership for the benefit of our future.”
Mr Sogavare also took the opportunity to acknowledge the support rendered by all Solomon Islanders to the work of RAMSI.
He said the success of RAMSI is a result of support by all levels of leadership in the country and every Solomon Islander.
“Your support and partnership is what makes the work of RAMSI successful.
“Our prayers have been answered and God has given us the gift of peace. Let us build on it and sustain it for our future generations.”
The Prime Minister thanked the Governments and people of Australia and New Zealand for the significant financial support they rendered towards the work of RAMSI.
He also thanked all RAMSI participating countries for the men and women they sent to Solomon Islands to serve the common good of the country.
“The men and women you sent under RAMSI have done well and I must say, they have been great ambassadors of peace as you bestowed life to this nation.”
The Prime Minister paid tribute to the six men and women who died while serving under RAMSI .
“I would like to salute and offer my respect to the six fallen RAMSI officers. May the God Almighty continue to comfort their families.”
All other Parliamentarians who spoke on the motion also acknowledged the achievements of RAMSI and thanked all the 15 Pacific Islands Forum member countries for their contributions to the work of the mission.
The motion received the overwhelming support of Parliament and the Speaker,AjilonNasiu adjourned the deliberation on the report on RAMSI at the Committee of the Whole House stage for 24 July 2017.
This is to allow Members of Parliament to participate in the RAMSI farewell celebrations this week.