AUSTRALIA’S Minister for Defence, Senator Marise Payne is visiting the country on Thursday.
She was in Tonga on Wednesday.
Minister Payne’s visit to Tonga and Solomon Islands coincides with a period of high engagement with Australia’s Pacific partners through Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2018 (IPE18).
In Tonga yesterday, Minister Payne participated in a number of activities as part of IPE18’s port visit to Nuku’alofa including the handover of five Australian-gifted Unimog vehicles, reflecting Australia’s ongoing commitment to support His Majesty’s Armed Forces to further enhance its capability to respond to natural disasters.
“I will also promote the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda while in Tonga by facilitating a WPS workshop with Australian Defence Force and His Majesty’s Armed Forces personnel as part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2018,” Minister Payne said in a statement.
In Honiara today, she will visit the Forum Fisheries Agency and the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force Maritime Headquarters.
The Minister will also lay a wreath at the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands Memorial and visit the Skyline Memorial to commemorate the Battle of Guadalcanal.
“Australia’s close security partnership with Solomon Islands continues to strengthen following the conclusion of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) last year and this visit is an opportunity to demonstrate our enduring commitment to our Pacific Partners,” Minister Payne said.
Minister Payne said Australia valued the enduring relationship with both countries and would continue to seek further opportunities to deepen these relationships.
Minister Payne will meet with senior leaders from both countries as part her visit.