The Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, His Excellency William Soaki met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Papua New Guinea, Honourable Justin Tkatchenko on Thursday (1st February 2024).
The Meeting was initiated after the reinstatement of Hon. Tkatchenko as the Foreign Affairs Minister. It was also an opportunity to gauge outstanding issues between Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea and provide reaffirmation of closer cooperation into the future.
H.E Soaki also used the opportunity to convey a message of solidarity and support from Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to the government and people of Papua New Guinea following the aftermath of the 10th January unrest in Port Moresby.
High Commissioner Soaki congratulated Minister Tkatchenko on his reinstatement to the Foreign Affairs Ministerial portfolio.
He thanked the Government of Papua New Guinea for the generous support rendered to the Solomon Islands Government throughout the preparatory stages and up to the conclusion of the 2023 Pacific Games event.
In particular, special mention was made to the Grant Aid invested in the construction of the SIFF Academy which will be of great value to the people of Solomon Islands going forward.
Discussions also touched on the two recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU’s) on Police Deployment and Immigration Cooperation which has fulfilled their relevance.
The Royal PNG Constabulary’s presence in the Solomon Islands for the duration of the games was a major boost to maintaining the country’s law and order. Prior to that, there have been four deployments since the November 2021 riots.
The PNG Immigration & Citizenship Services Authority’s assistance in providing capacity through technical know-how and human resources support to the Solomon Islands Immigration Department (SIID) has enabled the Department to facilitate a high number of arrivals and departures from the Solomon Islands.
High Commissioner Soaki went on to say, “there are outstanding MOUs and agreements that are currently under consideration by respective authorities well as those that have been cleared and ready for signatures”.
In response, Papua New Guinea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Justin Tkatchenko congratulated the Government and People of Solomon Islands on the successful hosting of the 17th Pacific Games.
He stressed that maintaining the facilities will be a challenge going forward, however states that Solomon Islands can always seek guidance from Papua New Guinea if the need arises.
Minister Tkatchenko, thanked the High Commissioner for the updates provided and urged officers present at the meeting to ensure that work towards the signing of the documents be finalized.
He said PNG as the big Melanesian brother stands ready to assist Solomon Islands whenever possible.
Also present at the meeting was Mr Elias Wohengu, Secretary for the Department of Foreign Affairs of Papua New Guinea and Ms Mary Walenenea, Second Secretary of the Solomon Islands High Commission.
—MFAET PRESS RELEASE