This morning, the Pacific Forum Secretariat representative Dr. Lesi Korovavala was given a chance to talk on RAMSI before the Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee.

Dr. Korovavala began by thanking the committee in giving him the opportunity to talk on behalf of the Forum regarding RAMSI.

"The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands commonly known as RAMSI was invited by the Solomon Islands Government as an independent state and deployed as a mission under the Biketawa declaration to restore peace and stability in the country after the tensions of the late 1990s and the early 2000s," says Korovavala.

According to Korovavala, the Forum has noted the positive relationship between RAMSI and the Solomon Islands Government and the people of Solomon Islands, which was highlighted in the recent Forum Leaders meeting in Niue.

"The engagement of the Region as a whole in RAMSI is vital and that RAMSI's strength lies in its regional nature. The outcomes of the 2007 Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Tonga commended and confirmed the continuing support to all Forum members as contributing countries of RAMSI," says Korovavala.

Dr. Korovavala went on to say that RAMSI is as an outstanding example of cooperative regionalism.

"RAMSI is here to assist the Government and the people of Solomon Islands to rebuild the State, economy and society in order for the fundamentals of growth and prosperity can once again function to the benefit of all citizens," says Korovavala.

Dr. Lesi went on to say that RAMSI is a unique mission that is specifically designed to assist the people of Solomon Islands and the Government.

"RAMSI creates a sense of unity and pride among Forum members," says Korovavala.

Regarding challenges faced by both RAMSI and the Solomon Islands, Dr. Korovavala says it is now time to capitalize on lessons learnt and move forward to other challenges.