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Special Coordinator to Solomon Islands.



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The Hon Stephen Smith MP AUSTRALIAN MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Media release

21 October 2008

Special Coordinator to Solomon Islands Mr Graeme Wilson has been appointed as Special Coordinator of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

He will replace Mr Tim George who has served as Special Coordinator since November 2006. Mr Wilson is expected to take up his appointment in January 2009.

The Australian Government has consulted the Solomon Islands Government and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretary-General on Mr Wilson’s appointment.

As Special Coordinator, Mr Wilson will be responsible for the overall coordination and strategic direction of RAMSI’s assistance to Solomon Islands.

RAMSI’s arrival in July 2003, at the invitation of the Solomon Islands Government and under the auspices of the Pacific Islands Forum, has seen the return of peace and economic stability to Solomon Islands.

Law and order has improved. RAMSI police advisers from 15 Pacific Island countries continue to work with their Solomon Islands counterparts to rebuild the police force. RAMSI civilian advisers have helped stabilise and improve the management of government finances, and provide reforms to encourage business and economic growth.

While much has already been achieved in the partnership between RAMSI and the Solomon Islands Government, significant challenges remain. RAMSI’s focus is now on capacity building for public servants and the institutions they work in.

Australia remains committed to RAMSI and will continue to support its long-term work to assist the Solomon Islands Government to create a peaceful and more prosperous future for all Solomon Islanders.

Prime Minister Rudd and Solomon Islands Prime Minister Sikua have agreed that Australia and Solomon Islands will establish a Pacific Partnership for Development to improve the long-term development outcomes in Solomon Islands. This bilateral initiative will complement the work of RAMSI.

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Mr Wilson, a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has been Assistant Secretary, Pacific Islands Branch since May 2005. From 2002 to 2005, he served as Australia’s Ambassador to Mexico. Mr Wilson was Consul-General in Noumea (1995-1998); Second, and later First Secretary, in Paris (1988-1992) and Third Secretary in Port Vila (1983-1985). In Canberra, Mr Wilson was Chief of Protocol (1998-2001), and has worked on Pacific issues in Canberra at various stages of his career since joining the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1983.

Mr Wilson holds a Master of Arts degree in French from the University of Melbourne, and a Master of Arts degree in international relations from the University of Southern California. He speaks French, Spanish and Bislama. Mr Wilson is married and has three children.

Media inquiries: Mr Smith's office 02 6277 7500 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

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