Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare returned home from 3 weeks official travel having participated in various important meetings including the 77th UNGA in New York, US-Pacific Island Leaders Summit in Washington DC, meetings with the Government of Singapore, Prime Minister of Australia and a host of other multilateral and bilateral dialogues.
Prime Minister Sogavare accompanied by senior Government Ministers including Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Hon. Jeremiah Manele, Minister of Planning and Development Coordination Hon. Rexon Ramofafia, Minister of Public Service Hon. Makario Tagini, Minister of Lands and Housing Hon. Ishmael Avui, Hon. Lilly Maefai and officials including the Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Solomon Islands to the United Nations attended the weeklong United Nations General Assembly which ran from 13th to 27th September.
The experienced and mature regional political leader used the United Nations General Assembly Debate, the highest UN platform to;
- Call for mutual respect of the Solomon Island Sovereignty, territorial integrity, and non-interference into the internal affairs of Solomon Islands and other member countries.
- On the Ukraine war, the Prime Minister called for maximum restraint by all parties and a de-escalation of the conflict.
- PM Sogavare also amplified the importance of maintaining a nuclear free Pacific.
- Digital transformation.
- Climate Change.
- Human Rights and others.
As for bilateral and multilateral engagements at the margins of the UNGA, Solomon Islands has sealed new diplomatic relations with Barbados, the Kingdom of Bahrain (an Oil rich nation in the Middle East).
It also further strengthened relations with multilateral and bilateral partners- Alliance of Small Island States, OASIS, Qatar, LDC Ministerial Meeting, PRC, Maldives, Georgia, United Arab Emirates, Australia and others.
The bilateral meetings results in;
- Reciprocal Visa Arrangement with the United Arab Emirates.
- Commitment with Maldives to work together to address challenges such as Climate Change and natural disaster response.
- Strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation with PRC in agriculture, police, education, fisheries, PG 2023 and Health.
- Adoption of the 2050 Strategy of the Blue Pacific Continent.
- Solomon Islands and Qatar are finalizing an MoU to facilitate visa exemption for diplomatic and official passport holders.
Prime Minister Sogavare and his delegation spent the final week of September in Washington DC for the first ever US-Pacific Islands Leaders Summit.
This is yet another success story as the US-Pacific Island Countries have reached a consensus on a declaration that is aligned with the 2050 strategy.
It is important to underline, the declaration is inline with the Solomon Islands foreign policy of “friends to all, enemies to none,” a policy Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare repeatedly preached at home, abroad and at the highest platform, the UNGA.
Solomon Islands will benefit from a US810 million expanded US program to improve the lives of Pacific Islanders announced by US President Joe Biden during the inaugural US-Pacific Summit.
In the first week of October, Prime Minister Sogavare and his delegation travelled from Washington DC to Singapore, for two official engagements. The first was with the Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. His second meeting was with the Asia Pacific Leaders malaria Alliance Secretariat, APLMA.
The meeting with the Singapore Foreign Minister resulted in both countries agreeing to assist each other share best practice experiences, education and capacity building.
Singapore offers assistance on capacity building and trainings on Solomon Islands priority areas especially;
- Public Service Management.
- Ports administration and management.
Solidarity in AOSIS and SIDS and other organisations to ensure challenges such as climate change is addressed at the International level.
The APLMA meeting was crucial as the Annual Malaria Parasite Incidence (API) for Solomon Islands remains the highest in the Asia Pacific region.
The importance and urgency to bring malaria control back on track in Solomon Islands was the Prime Minister’s core message to APLMA. DCGA commits to control and ultimately eliminate malaria from Solomon Islands. He suggested that the Government and APLMA drive national efforts to control and eliminate malaria especially in the period leading up to the 2023 Pacific Games. The national Malaria Elimination Roadmap will be reviewed to achieve that purpose.
APLMA is optimistic that Solomon Islands and the Asia-Pacific will end malaria by 2030.
The final leg of Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare’s trip was to Canberra, Australia. At the Parliament House on Thursday 6th October, Prime Minister Sogavare met Australian Prime Minister, Hon. Anthony Albanese and Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Hon. Richard Marles.
Among key messages, Prime Minister Sogavare assured Prime Minister Albanese that “Solomon Islands will not do anything that will undermine its own national security and jeopardise the security of any or all Forum countries. Solomon Islands will never be used for foreign military installations or institutions of foreign countries. It is my government’s legacy to safeguard the future of Solomon Islands and its people, not to endanger the country and its citizens or the security of any Forum country.”
PM Albanese was assured of DCGA’s commitment to work closely with him and his government as a member of the Pacific family and a close neighbour based on trust and mutual respect.
After more than 3 weeks of overseas official engagements, Prime Minister Manasseh, madam Emmy Sogavare and delegation members arrived back in the country safely on Monday 10th October.
The Prime has resumed official duties on Tuesday 11th October.
Source: Prime Minister’s Press Secretariat