Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade holds successful meeting with U.K Foreign Secretary.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon. Jeremiah Manele successfully held a bilateral meeting with the United Kingdom Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, The Rt Hon. James Cleverly on last Thursday (20th April 2023).
The bilateral meeting was significant as it signifies the first visit by a UK Foreign Secretary to the Solomon Islands. The meeting provided an opportunity for both countries to discuss bilateral issues, renew and deepen their bilateral relations and engagement.
Minister Manele acknowledge UK for its development assistance and support to Solomon Islands over the years.
UK’s development assistance to Solomon Islands is usually channeled through the European Union (EU) under the European Development Fund (EDF) but since UK left the EU, there is a need to enhance it’s bilateral cooperation with Solomon Islands. As such, Minister Manele calls on UK to increase its development assistance through bilateral cooperation.
On support to the media and press freedom, Minister Manele acknowledges the support provided by the UK government to SIBC through the BBC Media Action project. The project aims to build and strengthen media capacity in the country. He further commended the training of the media ahead of the launch of the SIBC TV service before the Pacific Games in November, and subsequent training for journalists to cover election related issues ahead of the 2024 National General Elections.
An important issue highlighted during the meeting was the extension of the country’s sovereignty over its ocean, something the Solomon Islands view as critical, thereby investing in the work of the extended continental shelf claims is seen as of paramount importance.
Minister Manele acknowledges the United Kingdom’s support towards the Extended Continental Shelf work, however, noting that there is still more work to be done.
He said Solomon Islands welcomes any support by UK to complete the work and any related capacity building trainings.
On education, Minister Manele acknowledged the UK for their support towards the “Review of the Governance, Finance and Administrative Systems and Processes of the SINU,”.
He said this will create paths for systems and processes across the entire University to be robust and meet the requirements of a small but important national institution, one that plays a pivotal role in the human development of the country.
On trade, Minister Manele said Solomon Islands also values the expanded trade and economic cooperation under the UK-Pacific States iEPA and looks forward to furthering close dialogue with the UK to ensure Solomon Islands benefit from the trade agreement.
Solomon Islands also welcomes the opportunity for interested Solomon Islanders to join the British Royal Navy as this endeavor can further deepen the close ties between the two countries.
Minister Manele further acknowledges the UK for its long-standing relationship with the Solomon Islands and for the two countries shared history and ties.
He said despite the geographical distance, both countries share the same ideals and principles of peace, freedom and democracy.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade and the visiting Foreign Secretary summed up the bilateral meeting with presentation of gifts.
-MFAET PRESS RELEASE