Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Hon. Gordon Darcy Lilo yesterday inaugurated the new embassy in Havana, Cuba.

Lilo, who is scheduled to meet with top Cuban officials including Cuban leader Raul Castro, described the opening of the diplomatic outpost as a crucial step towards continuing to strengthen ties between the two countries, reported Granma.

"From this moment on, a solid platform is created for interaction that we hope will equally promote dialogue and cooperation with other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean," the agency cited Lilo as saying.

His trip marked the first time ever a Solomon Islands prime minister visited Cuba, with which the country established diplomatic ties in December 2002.

Currently, the two countries are collaborating on new medical and education projects, with more than 100 young Solomon Islanders studying medicine in Cuba.

Simeon Bouro will serve as the Solomon Islands' new ambassador to Havana.

The archipelago country in Oceania, to the northwest of Australia, is the first of the Pacific islands to open a diplomatic mission in Havana, Granma said.

Lilo arrived in Cuba late Wednesday and will stay until Sunday.