The new Belgian Ambassador to Solomon Islands Marc Mullie had presented his letter of credential to Governor General His Excellency, Sir Frank Ofagioro Kabui early this week.
The ceremony took place on Tuesday afternoon at Government House.
Speaking during the occasion, the Ambassador said that it is truly a privilege for him to serve Solomon Islands.
He said that Solomon Islands and the Kingdom of Belgium are close friends.
He iterated that since the 1970s, Solomon Islands and Belgium have shared an outstanding cooperation in many multilateral organizations including the UN.
“The ties between our countries have been further strengthened by establishing an Embassy of the Solomon Islands in Brussels and by accrediting a Belgian Ambassador to Honiara,” the Belgian Ambassador said.
His Excellency stressed that his country recognizes the huge potential that Solomon Island has in the agricultural and food industry sectors as well as in fisheries.
He continued to say that his country also recognizes the need to provide a better livelihood for the people of Solomon Islands.
Ambassador Mullie said that Belgium have contributed to several rural development programs in the Country through European Union.
“However, the work of our Governments should be complemented by the work of our companies,” the Ambassador emphasized.
He said that there are a number of Belgian companies active in the food industry, in dredging activities, water treatment and green technologies in the region.
“It will be my duty to better inform them of the opportunities available in the Solomon Islands including the great taste of your cacao,” his Excellency said.
Also stressed is his government’s recognition of the deep and nuanced relationship that Solomon Island has with the ocean – ranging from economic dependency on fisheries and tourism to the role of the ocean in our culture.
He continued to say that despite their importance, our oceans and marine resources are increasingly threatened and degraded by human activities, pollution and climate change.
“Action must be undertaken now,” the Ambassador stressed.
“In the framework of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Belgium and the Solomon Islands are close allies committed to supporting each other,” he said.
“Together with the Marshall Islands, we form the so-called High Ambition Coalition that also work together to limit the greenhouse gas emissions of the shipping industry,” he continued
The Ambassador expressed gratefulness to the Solomon Islands for this excellent collaboration between the two countries.
In accepting the Belgian Ambassador’s credentials, the Governor General of Solomon Islands Sir Frank O. Kabui, thanked and affirmed the friendship that the Belgium and Solomon Islands enjoyed since 1978.
Whilst acknowledging the cordial relationship between the two countries, Sir Kabui said that there is still more to be realized.
Sir Kabui stressed that Solomon Islands is looking forward for the negotiation of a new Cotonou Agreement that would facilitate the Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and some other Pacific Islands countries.
The Governor General further said that Solomon Island is taking note of Belgium’s candidature for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council, 2019-2020.
Sir Kabui acknowledged Belgium’s effort in tackling the issues affecting the ocean as a habitat for marine food security and transportation.
However, the Governor General wants more to be done on the Climate Change front.
“Your concern over climate change in the international forum is indeed a step in the right direction.
“Your current co-operation with Solomon Islands and the Marshall Islands under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is noted with appreciation,” Sir Kabui stressed.
By SAMSON SADE