AUSTRALIAN Defense Minister Linda Reynolds on Wednesday made a three hour stop over in Gizo, Western provincial capital.
She was accompanied by Minister for National Security and Correctional Services Lanelle Tanangada, the Australian High Commissioner Roderick Bazier and other top government officials.
She inspected a guard of honour at Gizo seafront following her arrival.
Speaking during a brief ceremony at the provincial conference room Ms Reynolds said the short visit was very important as the Defence Minister because of the partnership and friendship that not only generates from RAMSI (Regional Assistance to Solomon Islands) but many decades ago related to the Coastwatchers during the World War 2.
She said the main purpose of the visit was to observe the ongoing Exercise Coastwatchers and to discuss security cooperation.
The part of the visit was also to revisit and witness the ongoing project that is being funded by the Australian Government under the Defence Minister’s work to improve joint infrastructures that can help with border patrols, police and tourism .
Western provincial premier David Gina acknowledged the presence of Minister Reynolds for taking time to visit the country as part of boosting security and defence in Solomon Islands.
Premier Gina stated the province and the country would need like to see more infrastructure development being implemented to help with security matters in Solomon Islands.
Mr Gina also highlighted the need for immediate reconciliation program between Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
“Because we have not experience any reconciliation between the parties involve in the recent conflicts so far,’’ he added.
The Defense Minister while in Gizo inspected a guard of honour, visited Gizo Police Station and the new Gizo Market.
A huge number of crowd witnessed the welcome ceremony in Gizo yesterday.
She also visited Munda and Taro as part of the visit.
BY ULUTAH GINA