Papua New Guinea’s High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, HE Moses Kaul has highlighted the growing close cooperation between his country and Solomon Islands which soared to new heights during celebrations marking PNG’s 48th Independence Anniversary celebrations Friday last week.
His Excellency Kaul said PNG and Solomon Islands are a people with shared values, history, culture and more so as brothers of Melanesian identity with ethnic similarities.
“We are a people of the Blue Pacific, standing tall and striving together in one spirit for advancing pacific regionalism. We are a people of destiny. We are people who pay homage to our diverse and unique cultural heritages with dignity and pride,” Kaul said.
The PNG Envoy reaffirmed that PNG and Solomon Islands enjoy a harmonious beneficial relationship as neighbours with shared common international maritime boundary knitted with traditional border crossing links and close people to- people relationship, adding that the pidgin language continues to foster a deeply rooted, unique relations between our two nations.
PNG has been supporting Solomon Islands in its human development endeavor over the years through heavy investment in the area of education. Since independence PNG has been providing educational opportunities to Solomon Islands students.
“Today I am proud to say that most qualified and experience persons in very high places in government, public and private sectors of this country have been trained and educated within tertiary institutions in PNG,” Kaul said.
Last week, the University of Goroka has signed an MOA with the Solomon Islands government to expand the establishment of the UOG Pacific Open Campus in Honiara with a commitment to deliver world class tertiary education with a broader spectrum of programs to doorsteps in Solomon Islands.
There also over 50 PNG investments in Solomon Islands with an estimated value exceeding SBD$2 billion.
“We take considerable risks to invest in this great country but believe in bolstering diverse economic opportunities and development prospects hence contribute to the nation building process,” Kaul said.
PNG is an emerging economy in the region on agriculture and extractive industry sectors. The hosting of APEC Summit in Port Moresby in 2018 is a testament to this trend of economic growth.
The current PNG government is initiating new platforms for economic growth. The policy is anchored on diversifying trade based on manufacturing and downstream processing and to reduce imports and increase export base to generate a healthy foreign reserve. Unprecedented policy has been adopted for the government to own 55% major mining industries in the country which is changing the economic landscape of PNG.
“PNG despite not being a donor country has donated KIO0 million as Grant-In Aid to Solomon Islands. This is an unprecedented gesture and a token of support for a true friend and brother in times of need,” Kaul said.
In terms of security cooperation, PNG actively participated amongst other friendly countries in safeguarding Solomon Islands from civil unrest and instability which they continue to offer assistance under the current SIAF arrangement.
“I wish to further assure the people and government of Solomon Islands on behalf of government of PNG that we stand ready to assist where security matters during the Pacific Games and during the National General Elections in 2024,” the High Commissioner added.
“We are resilient peoples of this world, and we are united to defend our democracy and peoples in the face of major challenges like global COVID19 pandemic, climate change, economic upheavals, civil unrests geo-politics as well as regional politics,” Kaul reiterated.
Guest of honor and Deputy Prime Minister of Solomon Islands Manasseh used the occasion on Friday to reaffirm Solomon Islands close and cordial relationship with PNG as the big Melanesian brother.