Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands officials have concluded their 10th Annual Senior Officials Meeting in Mount Hagen, Western Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea last week. The meetings were held on the 24-25 November 2011.

The meeting brought together senior Government officials of the two countries to review and discuss their cooperative arrangements in their bilateral relations and suggest practical ways in advancing their bilateral interests.

The Solomon Islands delegation at the bilateral consultations was led by the Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & External Trade, Mr Senda Fifi'i and included the Solomon Islands Acting High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Mr William Soaki and other senior government officials.

The Papua New Guinea delegation was led by the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Mr Michael Maue and included the Papua New Guinea High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, H.E Mr Brian Yombon-Copio.

In his welcome address, Mr Maue stated that Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands share a strong bond of friendship as Melanesian neighbors and reiterated that they must continue to consolidate and embrace this relationship. Mr Maue also highlighted the importance of the Development Cooperation Agreement, such as the increasing significance of PNG's investment in Solomon Islands, education & training and RAMSI, as some of the important undertakings between the two countries. He further stated that it is important that the discussions made measured progress to avoid the issues reappearing in future meetings.

The leader of the Solomon Islands delegation, Mr Senda Fifi'i, in response reaffirmed the strong commitment and desire in promoting and advancing the two countries' bilateral relations. He further stressed the importance of the meeting to review what both countries agreed to in previous meeting and discuss practical ways of implementing those decisions and advancing cooperative efforts.

The meeting also discussed political, security, trade and economic, environmental/resources issues as well as development technical cooperation between the two countries. The meeting also agreed for Solomon Islands to host the next bilateral consultations in Solomon Islands in 2012.