PACIFIC POLITICAL LEADERS TO VISIT SOLOMONS

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (PFnet, Oct. 19) - The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Rt. Hon. Helen Clark and Pacific leaders will visit Honiara this week.

A statement from the New Zealand High Commission’s Office in Honiara reports Ms. Clark accompanied by Samoan Prime Minister Hon Sailele Malielegaoi Tuilaepa, Kiribati President HE Mr Anote Tong, and Nauruan President HE Mr Ludwig Scotty will arrive Honiara on Sunday 23rd October.

It says the leaders are visiting Solomon Islands prior to attending the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Port Moresby from 25 to 27 October.

The statement says regional security issues will be a key topic at the Forum, and the visit underlines the region’s ongoing support for the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

New Zealand police, aided at various times by New Zealand defence personnel, have been in Solomon Islands as part of RAMSI since July 2003.

Ms Clark said she was looking forward to visiting Solomon Islands again.

"RAMSI has been a significant regional success, but Solomon Islands has a long way to go before the task is over. RAMSI has stabilised law and order and government finances in the Solomons. Now it has embarked with the Solomon Islands Government on the even more difficult task of reconstruction and development of both the economy and society more broadly.

"I look forward to discussing the challenges, and what is being done to address them with members of both RAMSI and the Solomon Islands Government. My visit, in the company of other regional leaders, will demonstrate our support for the efforts which are being made to give Solomon Islands the opportunity to develop its potential.

While in Honiara, leaders will meet with Prime Minister Sir Allan Kemakeza, with government and civil society representatives, and with members of RAMSI, and will visit RSIP/PPF officers at a police post.

October 20, 2005

PFnet: http://www.peoplefirst.net.sb/default.htm

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