AUSSIE OFFICIAL: SOLOMONS STILL NEEDS RAMSI

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Peacekeeping force restored law and order in 2003.

By Ednal Palmer HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, April 1, 2011) - Outgoing RAMSI [Regional Assistance Mission Solomon Islands] Special Coordinator Graeme Wilson said Solomon Islands will continue to need the support of RAMSI in the coming years.

Mr. Wilson made the comments when he appeared for the final time before the media yesterday.

"The RSIPF is slowly taking up policing duties from RAMSI but still needs to be properly resourced, capacity building still needs RAMSI’s assistance and the majority of the people in our yearly people’s survey indicated that violence could return if RAMSI leaves."

Wilson said RAMSI’s sole focus now was on capacity building and strengthening. He said law and order was an ongoing issue that RAMSI continued to render support to the RSIPF to face off every day. He said that transitional planning would take place in close consultation with the Solomon Islands Government in the context of the Solomon Islands-RAMSI Partnership Framework.

Wilson said that the drawing down of RAMSI occurs in parallel with capacity development and is done in a way that everyone is comfortable with and that seeks to ensure sustainable outcomes. He said he was confident and happy that the role was transferred to Nicolas Coppel who has vast experience and knowledge of the region.

Wilson will leave the country on Monday. He said he will be taking a three month holiday before joining the Australian Ministry of Foreign affairs in Canberra.

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