Wednesday, 13 August 2008 8:14 AM

SI to Set Up High Commission Office in Suva

The Solomon Islands will soon open up a High Commission Office in Suva, Fiji.

The work on setting up the Solomon Islands High Commission office has been progressing well, according to the Under Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Seda Fifi'i.

In an interview with the National Express, Mr Fifi'i stated that additional budgetary support provided by the government has paved the way forward for the establishment of the office.

Mr. Fifi'i went on to say that the establishment of the office would bring the government closer, not only to the government and people of Fiji, but also to all the major donor agencies located in Suva.

Mr. Fifi'i also highlighted that Suva has one of the highest concentrations of Solomon Islanders living abroad. "This would require an embassy to cater for the needs of Solomon Islanders living, studying and working in Fiji's capital, Suva," said Mr. Fifi'i.

Mr. Fifi'i said that the Ministry is sending some officers to Suva soon with the High Commission office expected to be operational within the next few months.

Meanwhile, work towards building the country's two chancellery buildings in Port Moresby and Canberra is progressing well.

Mr. Fifi'i said that as part of three projects for this year, the ministry has allocated funds to speed up work on building the countries embassies in PNG and Australia.

He said the Ministry has already submitted names of contractors to the central tender board for approval. "Upon approval then construction work on the building will proceed. Every thing on the part of PNG is set and ready to go," said Mr. Fifi'i.

Mr Fifi'i said that officials from the Ministry have just returned from Australia doing interviews with architectures who have submitted their designs for the building. "There were 7 bidders, and we went over to interview them and to take a closer look at the designs," said Mr. Fifi'i.

He said the 7 bids have been screened and a recommendation has been sent to the Central Tender Board for approval.