Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands Special Coordinator, Tim George, today congratulated Papua New Guinea on the occasion of its Independence Day.

Mr George said the contribution made by Papua New Guinea to RAMSI's civilian, police and military programs illustrated one of the great strengths of RAMSI's regional partnership.

"On the occasion of their 32nd independence anniversary, the people of Papua New Guinea can be proud of the work their countrymen and women in Solomon Islands are doing to help their neighbour," Mr George said.

"The Melanesian culture Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands share makes our Papua New Guinean personnel excellent ambassadors for RAMSI in the community and with the government counterparts they are working with," Mr George said.

Mr George said the sacrifices made by people currently serving in RAMSI and away from their family deserve a special mention.

"I would also like to thank the government and people of Papua New Guinea for their continued support of RAMSI's goal to help Solomon Islands become a peaceful, well-governed and prosperous nation," Mr George said.

Papua New Guinea has provided military personnel and police advisors to the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands since July 2003 to help restore law and order.

The Commander of the Participating Police Force, Denis McDermott, said that the depth of experience the PNG police officers brought to RAMSI was highly-valued in the mission.

"We have had some very experienced officers serving in the mission from PNG and I think that many of their fellow officers have also learnt a lot from them," Mr McDermott said.

There are currently ten PNG police officers serving with RAMSI as well as the head of the PNG military contingent, Captain Paul Pipingan.