ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury The Most Reverend Justin Welby left us on Tuesday.
Today, we have United States Secretary of State John Kerry on our shores.
Mr Kerry’s visit will last only a couple of hours. But it’s a visit that bears many significant dimensions to our relation with the US.
This is the first time for a US secretary of state to visit our country. This goes to show the importance the US government held for our diplomatic relations.
The secretary of state is the President’s chief foreign affairs adviser. So Mr Kerry is the principal adviser to President Barack Obama on foreign policy.
He carries out the President’s foreign policies through the State Department and the Foreign Service of the United States.
So he’s not a junior from Washington, but a big and important man coming on behalf of the President himself.
We are privileged to be included in Senator Kerry’s three-nation tour that includes Burma, Australia, Solomon Islands, and to conclude in the American Pacific State of Hawai’i.
The U.S Government says the visit is part of the Obama Administration’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, and Secretary Kerry will advance the U.S. vision of a prosperous and stable Asia-Pacific region.
U.S ambassador to Solomon Islands who is based in Port Moresby, Walter North says:
“This visit reflects our enduring commitment to the people of the Pacific. The United States is working with Solomon Islands to address climate change and to achieve sustainable, inclusive, and transparent economic growth.”
To show our appreciation, Honiara residents should be out on the streets today to welcome Mr Kerry and his entourage.
This is one of those times that we need to band together to show our visitors the spirit of unity in diversity that our island nation has been known for.
Furthermore, we need to allow the visit to proceed smoothly and avoid disturbances that may interrupt the programmes that have been planned for the U.S leader.
In Honiara today, Mr Kerry will attend wreath-laying ceremonies at the Guadalcanal American Memorial and Solomon Scouts and Coastwatchers Memorial.
These are monuments that have been built in memory of American soldiers and local scouts who lost their lives during Second World War on Guadalcanal.
So let’s welcome Mr Kerry and offer him and those accompanying him a trip to remember.