Wednesday, 19 December 2007 9:13 AM

RAMSI Committed to Free and Fair Election of Prime Minister

RAMSI is committed to supporting the Solomon Islands police in their current efforts to ensure a free and fair environment for this week's election of a new prime minister.

In a joint statement issued yesterday, RAMSI's police and military chiefs made it clear that RAMSI remains neutral in all its operations.

"RAMSI is here to help create a safe environment for all Solomon Islanders; it is not here to take sides or get involved in local politics," the RAMSI commanders said.

The Commander of RAMSI's Participating Police Force, (PPF) Denis McDermott, and the head of RAMSI Military, Lieutenant Colonel Steve Coggin, said that RAMSI's security forces were operating only in support and at the direction of the Solomon Islands Police Force (SIPF), not at the request of individuals or political parties, they said.

Commander McDermott said that while some people might try to claim RAMSI was interfering in local politics, the truth was the mission responded only to the risk assessments and security requests of the SIPF.

"RAMSI does not get involved in politics," Mr McDermott said.

The Regional Assistance Mission's role is strictly limited to supporting the SIPF in maintaining law and order during the operations for the coming parliament sitting, he said.

Lieutenant Colonel Coggin said the role of the RAMSI military was to protect and support the Participating Police Force and the Solomon Islands Police in their normal policing duties.