Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Manasseh Maelanga has conveyed greetings on behalf of the Government and people of Solomon Islands to the government and people of Australia.
Speaking at the Australian National Day celebrations last night, Mr Maelanga said Australia and Solomon Islands are permanent neighbours.
“We share common borders. We uphold and respect the values of democracy and the rule of law. Surrounding our blue oceans lie our Pacific region that define our regional integration, interaction and our blue pacific family identity,” he said.
The Deputy Prime Minister said the ethical norms and values that brought the two countries this far remains the foundation of the shared relationship and cooperation.
“We stand to appreciate our societies, our people and the multi-cultural identity that we have. As the saying goes, our diversity remain our strength. In occasions like this, we reflect on the beauty and the uniqueness of our two countries,” he said.
Mr Maelanga said Australia remains Solomon Islands key strategic development partner.
He acknowledged Australia’s focused support on key priority areas in the country’s nation building, and Australia’s ongoing partnership with Solomon Islands to enhance development, sustain peace, security and stability.
The Deputy Prime Minister said the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) that was concluded in 2017 was a historical success.
“It was a historical story of the true spirit of our Pacific regionalism. We thank Australia for leading the Mission and for all the assistance associated with the operation Helpem Fren,” he said.
He said even the Post-RAMSI period Solomon Islands continue to benefit from the assistance provided by Australia.
Mr Maelanga said with the Australian Pacific step-up in the region, Solomon Islands welcome the initiative and look forward to deepen its engagement at the bilateral level.
“Australia’s ongoing support in training our human resources is highly appreciated and acknowledged. Australian Scholarship Awards has enabled our students to contribute back to our country with innovative thinking and creativity,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Maelanga has reaffirmed the National Governments never ending commitment and support to both countries. “As we stand together to walk this journey, let us go forth with this new dawn that is before us, and the blessings that this new year will compliment for our two countries ongoing cooperation,” he said.