The Sogavare Government has initiated a parliamentary review of the legislative basis for the continued presence of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands.Speaking at the 62nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, MP Minister of Foreign Affairs, External Trade and Immigration, Hon. Patteson Oti said credit must be given to the visiting forces deployed in 2003 for the restoration of law and order in Solomon Islands following many preceding years of ethnic rivalry and violence.
"Our peoples' gratitude to Australia and New Zealand for financing the deployment of their nationals to police our crisis with the help of a small contingent of personnel from neighbouring Pacific Island nations is oft-expressed and genuine."
He however pointed out that as fellow Pacific Islands states can readily appreciate, "our sovereign right to determine the terms on which the Government of Solomon Islands will permit our continued occupation by the Visiting Contingent cannot be undermined by any member of the United Nations."
Mr. Oti said the long neglect of our internal problem by the UN, followed by the hasty conclusion of the regionally-based multilateral agreement which led to the dispatch of the initial Visiting Contingent of Australian, New Zealand and other Pacific Islands forces, brings ongoing controversies concerning their continued existence and eventual exit back to the UN's doorsteps.
Howsoever dressed and rationalized, intervention and occupation allow "assisting" nations to spend and earn substantial revenue for their supporting businesses and industries, he said.
Mr. Oti told the meeting that Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, fellow Government Ministers Parliamentarians as well as the Attorney General "remain unmoved by Australian resistance to our attempts to reclaim our sovereignty and independence."