Monday, 22 September 2008 2:48 PM

SI and PNG to be More Vigilant on Border Issues: Gukuna

A 2nd Joint Border Meeting between PNG and Solomon Islands began this morning at the Iron Bottom Sound Hotel.

The meeting is hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade and is expected to go on until the end of the week.

In his key note address today, the acting Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon. Seth Gukuna welcomed the presence of Chiefs and delegates from the border areas of Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

"Your presence will provide the meeting insights of the issues involved for formulation and development of a robust border arrangement," said Hon. Gukuna.

He also stated that PNG and Solomon Islands share common maritime boundary on Bougainville and "over the years our people have lived peacefully along the borders going about daily chores, traditional ties, trade and other relative activities that also bind countries together.

According to Hon. Gukuna, the developments on Bougainville over the past years continue to receive attention of the Governments of PNG and the Solomon Island.

"Because of our blood ties and its close proximity, developments on Bougainville will always be of great interests to Solomon islands," he said.

He also added that few events of the past years have threatened peace and security on that island and have affected the livelihood of the people living on the common borders.

"If we are complacent in managing such issues properly, it could have devastating effects on the citizens living along the common border areas," said Hon. Gukuna.

He urged all leaders to remain vigilant on the border issues and ensure that the border is respected by all parties.

In conclusion, he stated that the Solomon Islands was pleased to honor and to assist in the facilitation of the peace process on Bougainville and will continue to support the efforts of PNG to bring about lasting peace, security and stability on Bougainville.