Monday, 28 June 2010 9:24 AM

Sikua Praises Pacific-Arab Summit

Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Dr, Derek Sikua, has described the Pacific-Arab Summit as a historic event and a unique opportunity for Pacific Island countries to exchange views and dialogue with the Arab World on the prospects for cooperation between the two regions.

He said it is historic and unique because it is the first time that Pacific Island Countries and Arab World Leaders have met to discuss potential areas for cooperation between both regions.

Dr. Sikua also paid tribute to the Government of the United Arab Emirates for its vision behind the Pacific Partnership Program initiative, which the UAE Foreign Minister launched when he visited the Pacific Island countries including Solomon Islands, early this year.

This initiative was launched and established with an initial funding of US$50 million, to be managed by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, and solely dedicated to the provision of funding for projects and initiatives from the Pacific Island nations in a wide range of inter-related development fields.

In his statement, Dr. Sikua, outlined a number of key areas, including climate change, renewable energy development, education, and infrastructure development, which the Solomon Islands is keen to pursue with the UAE under the Pacific Partnership Program.

The Solomon Islands Government has already drafted a number of project proposals in the above areas, which officials will now pursue with the UAE authorities and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, after the Summit.

Prime Minister Sikua also stressed the need for trade, investment and economic partnerships as these links are vital in sustaining bilateral relations, and enable our local economy to benefit from global trade.

In this connection, he took the opportunity to encourage and invite genuine investors from the UAE and others in that region to visit Solomon Islands and explore for themselves potential trade and investment opportunities we have in various sectors including tourism, agriculture, mining, oil and gas exploration, and fisheries.

Dr Sikua and his delegation also had bilateral meetings with a number of Arab League countries including Egypt, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates and discussed common issues and challenges facing the international community, in particular the serious threats and impacts of climate change and sea level rise, which is already affecting several small and low lying atolls and artificial islands in Solomon Islands.

The Pacific Arab Summit concluded last week and Dr. Sikua with his delegation will arrive in the country today.

Source: Press Release, Government Communication Unit

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