RAMSI Special Coordinator Tim George said the chance to meet with Premiers and the Mayor of Honiara at the Premiers conference in Lata was a valuable one.

Mr George was joined by senior officials from the development, police and military areas of the mission. The Acting Police Commissioner and Acting Deputy Police Commissioner of the Solomon Islands Police Force also joined discussions on the progress of rebuilding the police force.

Mr George said the talks were very constructive and useful.

"Spending time with all the Premiers is an important way for RAMSI to update provincial leaders on the progress of the Solomon Islands-RAMSI partnership and to hear their views on the work that we do," Mr George said.

"As RAMSI evolves to meet the aims of our mandate and the needs of the government, it is important that Premiers also be involved in these discussions."

Mr George and his team briefed Premiers on the Partnership Framework, support to the provinces, capacity building and progress within the police force.

"The Partnership Framework that is currently being discussed by the government and RAMSI is a plan with agreed activities and targets. These will be used to measure the progress of RAMSI and the government as we work together towards completing the tasks set out in RAMSI's the mandate in the areas of law and justice, machinery of government and economic reform and growth," Mr George said.

In response to questions from the Premiers about assistance to the provinces, officials outlined RAMSI programs that aim to give them financial planning and management skills and deliver effective government services.

"RAMSI is joining hands with government and traditional donors to strengthen financial management, budgeting and planning of development activities in the provinces," said Mr George.

He said the overall outlook for external donor assistance to Solomon Islands was good as the nation continued to benefit from an environment of peace and stability and better trained public servants, and strong and positive interest from the donor community.

Mr George also proposed more regular provincial visits by RAMSI and, where appropriate, national government representatives to meet with each Premier and their executive.

"While I have enjoyed travelling to each and every province to meet provincial governments, there is always room for more dialogue and consultation," Mr George said.

Mr George also extended an invitation to Premiers and their executive to meet with RAMSI officials from all areas of the mission when they are visiting Honiara.

"RAMSI is a partnership with the government and people of Solomon Islands, and that includes provincial governments and Honiara Town Council," Mr George said.

Press Release (RAMSI Media Unit)