PM vows to take on submarine cable - Solomon Star News

PM vows to take on submarine cable
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16 November 2017
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Prime Minister Rick Hou.

NEWLY elected Prime Minister Rick Hou assures the nation that he will pursue the undersea cable project with the new arrangement offered by Australia.

Delivering his speech after the announcement of his victory as the new Prime Minister following a secret ballot vote election in parliament yesterday, Mr Hou said he will continue to push for the submarine cable project under a new deal offered by Australia.

The new arrangement which was initially announced by former Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare will see a new company take over from Huawei to pull the submarine cable from Sydney to Honiara.

The new arrangement is said to be just a quarter of the price offered by Chinese company Huawei as all upfront costs are to be taken up by Australia.

The Undersea Cable project was identified as one of the reasons behind the downfall of the Sogavare-led Democratic Coalition for Change Government (DCC), since the new deal with Australia did not go down well with some former members of the cabinet.

The project was one of the major undertakings of the DCC but has been delayed due to some external factors, particularly the involvement of Australia and Huawei.

However, the fall of the DCCG has cast doubts on the fate of the project but the newly elected Prime Minister Hou assured in his speech outside of parliament that he will remain committed to the new arrangement with Australia in pursuing the project.

The Government initially signed an agreement with Huawei to carry out the cable project from Sydney to Honiara but it was rejected by Australia for security reasons. This forced the former Prime Minister Sogavare to consider other options, even pulling the cable from Indonesia.

Mr Sogavare told parliament during the Motion of No Confidence against him that the new investors have already sent in their letter.

The cable was to be pulled from Sydney to Honiara before Australia intervened to halt the project because it would be carried out by Huawei.

Mr Sogavare had stated when touching on the project in his response to the motion of no-confidence in Parliament that, “We are a family of nations in the region. We respect the sovereignty and security concern of our neighbors. We don’t do things that will affect their security.”

By AATAI JOHN

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