Wednesday, 29 August 2007 7:32 AM

Oti Hails Partnership Between SI and US

Foreign Affairs Minister, Patterson Oti, last week hailed the US assistance to Solomon Islands under a new US-led Pacific Partnership Goodwill Mission.

Mr Oti who accompanied US Navy Secretary, Donald Winter, onboard the US assault ship Peleliu last week on a medical diplomacy mission said the mission would strengthen ties between the United States of America and the Pacific, most of all the Solomon Islands.

Mr Oti made the remarks during a briefing with mission leaders, officials and sailors onboard the navy vessel which visited the country's Western region last week.

The US military and civilian medical teams treat patients while Seabees, the Navy's construction force, rebuild medical facilities which were damaged during a magnitude 8.1 quakes and Tsunami on April 2 in the Western Solomons region.

Mr Oti said it would not only be beneficial for those that are being assisted but also to those providing the aid.

"I believe that through such consultations and interactions, we can again build our strong relationship," he said. "The assistance means a lot to the nation and people of Solomon Islands."

Part of the mission's role was to again strengthen America's ties with allies in the Pacific. "We would like to show people that we still do care for the Pacific," said Commodore Steward of the USS Peleliu

The Solomon Islands is the fourth of five stops in the Peleliu's five-month "Pacific Partnership" medical mission. The ship visited the Philippines, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea, and next it will head to the Marshall Islands.

The Peleliu is scheduled to return to San Diego next month.