Honiara : 5 April 2017
The establishment and operation of a diplomatic mission will be an expensive exercise especially for Solomon Islands in light of the value of its currency but the gains outweigh the costs, the Supervising Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon Chris Laore told Parliament yesterday.
He said the Government initiative to establish a diplomatic mission in London was a strategic move that will see the enhancement of its bilateral cooperation with the United Kingdom and also bolster collaboration with key London-based institutions such as the Commonwealth and International Maritime Organisation (IMO)
Minister Laore added that strengthening diplomatic ties with the UK at the bilateral level was essential to tap into its cooperation arrangements in the areas of development, education, economic and social cooperation, investment, trade, tourism, climate change, technology transfers and so forth.
“Presently the UK is one of the two largest contributors to the European development fund resources and Solomon Islands is benefitting from those resources under its partnership with the European Union. The UK, as we are all aware is a super power and one of the global agenda drivers and our close collaborations with the United Kingdom will be of interest to us,” the Supervising Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade said.
When expounding on the importance of enhancing cooperation with the Commonwealth and the IMO, Minister Laore said Solomon Islands is an active member of both key organisations.
He commented that the Commonwealth has reduced its operations in the Pacific and operates from its headquarters in London, focussing its budget on development programmes.
“Our proposed mission in London will enable our direct collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat so as to ensure the sensitivity of our development needs and the kind of programmes we can tap into to address those development needs.”
In reference to the IMO, Minister Laore said the IMO is an important organisation that governs maritime affairs globally.
He said as an island country, Solomon Islands has attached great significance to the work and jurisdictional purview and roles of the IMO and the establishment of a Solomon Islands diplomatic mission in London and its accreditation to IMO will definitely bolster the country’s collaboration and work with the IMO on programmes to develop Solomon Islands maritime services.
Expounding on the Solomon Islands-UK historical ties, the Supervising Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade said Solomon Islands shares historical ties with the UK, as a former British Protectorate, and thus the first Solomon Islands diplomatic mission should have been established in London.
He added that with the close ties between Solomon Islands and Great Britain, the latter continued to maintain a High Commission in Honiara and that the establishment of a Solomon Islands diplomatic mission to UK in London will serve to further foster that long-forged relationship.
Source: Solomon Islands Government Press Release.