Minister Veke: Australia remains partner of choice
Paving the way for a naval military base in Solomon Islands was the main concern of Australia on the security pact Honiara and Beijing signed recently. But the Minister of Police, National Security and Correctional Services, Anthony Veke, saw no cause for alarm in the security pact.
“A lot is being said in the media about this pact and what it entails, but I can assure you there will be no military base in Solomon Islands and Australia remains our partner of choice.” Mr. Veke told Karen Andrews, Australia’s Minister of Home Affairs responsible for federal law enforcement, national and transport security, criminal justice, emergency management and multicultural affairs.
“And if there is to be any foreign police presence in the country, it is to contain internal upheavals and on our terms.” Mr. Veke assured Minister Andrews.
The two Ministers met in Brisbane recently and tasked their officials, particularly their Commissioners of Police, to quickly meet and reactivate the AFP-RSIPF partnership programme now in its first phase but has been put on hold because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. An MOU on mobility and capacity building of the combined law enforcement agencies with Australian border force has been discussed and needs to be pursued by officials as well.
They also discussed labour mobility, cyber security, cybercrime and agreed that the latter two are areas that know no boundaries and therefore require their close cooperation.