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Suibaea slams vote

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Malaita premier Edwin Suibaea
MALAITA Province premier has expressed disappointment with the move to vote in support of Palestine as an observer United Nations member state.

Edwin Suibaea said the decision made by Solomon Islands UN ambassador Collin Beck will indirectly affect the ongoing programmes Israel is implementing in the province.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), Israel will assist the province with technical expertise to establish three Industrial Parks at Kadabina (North), Foumamanu (East) and Liwe (South).

The Government further sealed an agreement with Israeli Government at the 43 Pacific Islands Forum in Cook Islands, to extend its programmes throughout the country.

Mr Suibaea said the Israeli Government was not happy with the decision.

“The sad thing is the impact the decision will have locally,” he said.

He said the decision was not in the interest of Solomon Islands.

“Our programmes with Israel are to contain the 160,000 population of Malaita by creating employment with the proposed Industrial Parks.

“The people of Malaita will participate in economic activities on their home soil and generate their own incomes.

“But with the outcome of the voting, what will the national government provide for Malaitans,” he questioned.

Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo when questioned in Parliament yesterday on the matter defended the Government’s decision.

Mr Lilo said the vote was taken base on a unanimous notion to restore peace between the two warring neighbours.

He said the vote was not against Israel, but a positive move towards ensuring a peaceful coexistence.

He assured the nation that the Government’s bilateral relationship with Israel is intact.

However, his answer contradicted Minister of Foreign Affair Clay Forau who said Solomon Islands position before the UN voting was to support Israel.

Solomon Islands joined hands with 137 to 9, with 41 abstentions of countries around the world to vote for UN’s recognition for Palestine at the UN as an "entity” to a "non-member observer state".

In a historic session at the United Nations in New York last Thursday, exactly 65 years after passing the Partition Plan for Palestine, the General Assembly voted by a huge majority to recognise Palestine within the 1967 borders as a non-member state with observer status in the organisation.

By Eddie Osifelo