Australia remains Solomon Islands partner of choice regardless of the security pact signed between the Governments of Solomon Islands and the Peoples Republic of China recently.
This was further re-emphasized by the Solomon Islands Minister for Police, National Security and Correctional Services, Hon. Anthony Veke at a meeting with Karen Andrews – Australia’s Minister of Home Affairs responsible for Federal Law Enforcement, National and Transport Security, Criminal Justice, Emergency Management and Multicultural Affairs in Brisbane last week.
Minister Veke noted that rumors of a naval military base in Solomon Islands was the main concern of Australia on the security pact but assured Minister Andrews that the matter should be “no cause for alarm”.
“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 said.
“And if there is to be any foreign police presence in the country, it is to contain internal upheavals and on our terms,” he added.
The two Ministers met in Brisbane on Saturday 8th May 2022 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 labor mobility, cyber security, cybercrime and agreed that the latter two are areas that know no boundaries and therefore require their close cooperation.
Minister Veke is now in Suva, Fiji together with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Jerry Manele, for further talks with the Fiji Government, the Forum Secretariat and Representatives of other Forum Island Countries on the SI/China security pact.