Newly appointed European Union Ambassador to Solomon Islands has presented his letter of credence to the Governor General His Excellency Sir Frank Kabui in Honiara yesterday.

Ambassador Martin Dihm replaces his predecessor Aldo Dell'Ariccia whose hard work ensured the partnership between the EU and Solomon Islands continues to grow stronger.

Sir Frank said the arrival of Ambassador Dihm will further enhance the SI-EU partnership.

"It marks a continuation of the cordial relation we have. It also reaffirms our shared commitment to recognizing the value of democracy, peace, human rights and the rule of law which are the building blocks for a better world," Sir Frank said.

Sir Frank also told Ambassador Dihm that Solomon Islands recognize the beneficial role played by the Lome Convention, which was later superseded by the Cotonou Agreement.

This arrangement is the basis of the SI-EU partnership which has grown from strength to strength over the years.

As a testimony to its commitment to this partnership, Solomon Islands recently ratified the 2nd Revised ACP-EC Partnership Agreement.

"It is therefore fitting for us to extend our appreciation to the European Union for its commitment to reforming and improving the economy of Solomon Islands and its development strategies".

"Your assistance in areas such as education, agriculture, fisheries, security, good governance, civil society, and private sector development is very much appreciated," Sir Frank said.

Sir Frank also hailed the EU Budget Support in the form of 15.2 million Euros made available to Solomon Islands in 2010.

"The continuing deep, comprehensive and open political dialogue between us as equals to address matters of mutual interests is highly valued by Solomon Islands," he added.

Ambassador Dihm said the EU is one of the most important partners to Solomon Islands in important sectors such as education, forestry, rural development, infrastructure, civil society and private sector development and community-based micro-projects over the last ten years.

"We are particularly pleased to have been able to use in 2010 your own administrative and financial systems to channel our aid as direct budgetary support, which has permitted us to step up a gear in the alignment with the national policy reform priorities," Mr Dihm said.

"We will continue to assist you in your efforts to reach the millennium development goals," he added.

He further stressed that the EU has also supported Solomon Islands in strengthening its disaster preparedness and in mitigating the impact of natural disasters.

"We will continue to cooperate closely with you in this area and be a reliable and fast responding partner," Ambassador Dihm said.

Ambassador Dihm is based in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.