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Visit to Solomon Islands: 25 August 2003

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I am pleased to announce that I will visit the Solomon Islands on 25 August 2003. The visit will be a chance for me to see at first hand the gratifying progress being made by the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI), and to be briefed by the Solomon Islands Government and RAMSI Special Coordinator Nick Warner.

It will also be an opportunity personally to thank all the Australians from the Australian Defence Force, Australian Federal Police, Australian Protective Service as well as the Australian civilian advisers now serving so professionally in the Solomon Islands. I look forward also to meeting the Solomon Islands Prime Minister and his cabinet, Opposition leaders, members of the national peace council, other Solomon Islands community representatives as well as the resident Australian community.

I anticipate that my talks with Prime Minister Kemakeza will focus on our joint efforts to consolidate the gains made by RAMSI after the conclusion of the current gun amnesty. Both Sir Allan and myself are deeply conscious of the concerted effort which will be required in order to rebuild the society and economy of the Solomon Islands after the damage inflicted by the events of the last few years.

22 August 2003