Monday, 18 July 2011 8:11 AM

Government Approves Three Additional Overseas Missions

The Government has approved the establishment of three additional overseas Diplomatic Missions to take care of the country's international affairs.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Mr George Hiele has announced the government's decision at a media conference to conclude talks between Foreign Affairs Officials and the country's six overseas diplomats on Friday.

The Missions will be established in Geneva, New Zealand and Cuba. Progress of establishing missions in Geneva and Cuba are already underway. Staff will be deployed to the new missions as soon as government makes available the necessary funds.

On the Cuba Mission, Solomon Islands Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Collin Beck said government is expected to open an office in Havana in few months time.

He said an Embassy Bank Account has already been opened in Havana and staff to man the office will be deployed as soon as practical.

The Cuba Mission will be responsible for the affairs of Solomon Islands Medical Students studying there as well as strengthening relations with Central and Latin American countries.

Solomon Islands currently send more than 70 medical students to study in Havana under a scholarship scheme funded by the government of Cuba. More Solomon Islands students are expected to be enrolled in coming years.

On costs of running overseas Missions, Mr Hiele said government has acknowledged the increasing financial resources needed for opening up new missions overseas.

He said, running overseas Missions is expensive and government has carefully considered all costs and benefits before making that decision.

In addition, Ambassador Beck explained that in considering establishing overseas offices, government always weigh the benefits derived from the offices against the costs of establishing them.

"If we look at where we are currently located, we are located in a position where our investment into these offices will derive benefits that outweigh the costs involved," Ambassador Beck said.


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