Wednesday, 27 February 2008 7:21 AM

RAMSI Begins New Chapter

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister called for RAMSI and Donor partners to realign their assistance with government's policy.

In a press statement after the Foreign Ministerial meeting on Friday, Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister, Stephen Smith, said the call is well received by the Foreign Ministers.

That change of approach, according to Australia's Foreign Minister, is a new beginning for RAMSI. Smith was quite happy with the outcome of the talks and said he supports Dr. Sikua's call for a shift in RAMSI assistance.

"Yes we do not have any problem with that. We think it is important to support the Solomon Islands government development policies."

Mr. Smith said RAMSI is expected to focus on capacity building and infrastructural development.

In many ways the message that came out strongly after the ministerial talks is the uniform agreement that now is the time for RAMSI to focus more on capacity building.

The Australian Foreign Minister said this is a new phase in RAMSI's work in the Solomon Islands. "The shift will be towards Capacity Building and development assistance aligned with the Solomon Islands Government."

Smith said this reflects a new attitude and a new partnership, a partnership that is geared towards nation building.

He said the new shift recognizes that Solomon Islanders are ready to take the partnership to a new level after relatively peaceful years.