Friday, 11 March 2011 9:02 AM

Solomon Islands Government Welcomes Australian Parliamentary Secretary

The Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator David Feeney, has spent four days in Solomon Islands observing the RAMSI mission and discussing its progress with Government Ministers.

Upon arriving in Honiara on Monday, Senator Feeney met with the Acting Prime Minister, Hon Manasseh Maelanga MP. The Acting Prime Minster stated that the Government was "really happy with the work of RAMSI", and looked forward to working with Australia to address a range of important issues.

On Tuesday, Senator Feeney met the Leader of the Opposition, Hon Steve Abana MP; Minister for Finance and Treasury, Hon Gordon Darcy Lilo MP; and Minster for Police, National Security and Correctional Services, Hon James Tora MP.

Senator Feeney acknowledged the efforts of the Government and people of Solomon Islands in maintaining peace within the community, and affirmed Australia's commitment to work with the people of Solomon Islands to build on the success of RAMSI and create a peaceful and sustainable future.

Senator Feeney also inspected RSIPV LATA and AUKI and visited Avu Avu Police Station, gaining a valuable insight into the diverse and challenging tasks undertaken by the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF). "The RSIPF are central to the maintenance of a stable, secure and safe community, and their success has been made possible through the support of the community, the dedication and professionalism of the officers themselves, and the engagement and support of their Minister and the Ministry. I trust these efforts will continue."

Senator Feeney attended the "RAMSI in Pictures" exhibition, and encouraged the community to view the exhibition to understand the progress made since the commencement of RAMSI in 2003. "Australia values its close and constructive partnership with Solomon Islands, as seen through both our bilateral and RAMSI partnerships, and we will meet future challenges together in a spirit of cooperation and friendship".

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