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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, September 29) – United States ambassador to Solomon Islands Robert Fitts says the inquiry into the April riots should not be allowed to interfere with the country’s legal process.

Mr Fitts, who is based in Port Moresby, raised the sentiments in a letter to Governor General Sir Nathaniel Waena.

He stressed that the separation of powers among government branches is vital to ensure that the interests of all citizens are fairly addressed.

"In that regard, it is important that the Commission of Inquiry reviewing the April violence should not interfere with the legal proceedings against those charged with crimes associated with the April events. Those truly responsible for instigating the violence should be held accountable," Mr Fitts, whose term as ambassador ends next Monday, said.

He added that the United States congratulated Solomon Islands on the progress it has made over the past three years with the assistance of its neighbors under RAMSI [Regional Assistance Mission Solomon Islands].

However, Mr Fitts said as illustrated by the still-recovering economy and the lapse back into social violence last April, there is still enormous work left to do.

"Though public order is restored, government institutions must still be rebuilt so that they can earn the trust of all Solomon Islands’ citizens. The United States also urges that the leaders of the Solomon Islands to continue to work closely with the country’s neighbors who have provided large-scale assistance and support through RAMSI and through bilateral programs. It is vital that the Government of Solomon Islands extend the same degree of cooperation to all components of RAMSI, including judicial, financial and other areas of reform that it showed in working with RAMSI on initial security programs," Mr Fitts said.

October 2, 2006

Solomon Star: http://www.solomonstarnews.com

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