SENIOR STATESMAN QUESTIONED SI-AUSTRALIA SECURITY DEAL

Former Governor general Sir Nathaniel Waena. Photo credit: Secretariat of the Commonwealth.

Former Governor-general Sir Nathaniel Waena. Photo credit: Secretariat of the Commonwealth.

A senior statesman and former Governor General, Sir Nathaniel Waena says the security deal currently negotiated between Australia and Solomon Islands is highly questionable.

SBS News recently reported negotiations are underway by Australia and Solomon Islands to secure a security deal which would see a permanent presence of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in the country, working alongside the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF).

Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells told the Australia Solomon Islands Business Forum in Brisbane that while RAMSI might be leaving Solomon Islands next year, Australia is not going anywhere but is here to stay.

But speaking to SIBC News, Sir Nathaniel says this is really questionable as it only undermines the country’s sovereignty.

“That arrangement might undermine the sovereignty of this country. There’s not a nation in the world that I’ve allowed the presence of any foreign force in its country and so I begin to question whether there is genuineness in that sort of arrangement or not.”

Meanwhile, Sir Nathaniel adds the Government under Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s leadership should have informed and secure consent of the Head of State regarding its intention regarding the deal.

He says the Governor-General must give his consent about the deal or it would be a serious matter undermining his authority as the Head of State.

“His Excellency the Governor-General who is the Commander in Chief by his royal appointment by Her Majesty must give his consent or must have been informed about the government’s intention. If he’s not giving consent as the Commander in Chief they are undermining his authority as Her Majesty’s representative in this country and therefore it’s quite a serious matter.”

While details of the deal are not yet clear, Ms. Fierravanti-Wells said it will almost certainly contain details of a contingent of Australian Federal Police, based in Honiara, under the umbrella of the Australian High Commission, working closely with the Solomon Islands police force counterparts.

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