Speaking on the occasion of the presentation of credentials by her Excellency Mrs. Erin Elizabeth McKee Ambassador of the United States to the Solomon Islands at the government house this week, Sir Vunagi said the United States relations have flourished, reflecting on increasing engagements, in security, economic sector and people to people interactions in over four decades since the formal establishment of diplomatic relations.
“The USAID active engagement to increase its work programs and support transformative projects and the inclusion of Solomon Islands into the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) threshold program is a positive step.
“These are initiatives that will lead to attracting genuine foreign investment and development into Solomon Islands,’’ he said.
“The depletion of logging stocks in the coming years will adversely affect Solomon Islands economic growth, exports, and public finances, therefore new drivers of economic growth are needed.
“Solomon Islands is venturing into building partnership and cooperation to strengthen its growth sectors, especially the Agriculture sector and Tourism sector therefore genuine foreign investment and shared partnership into these sectors is the way forward.
Sir Vunagi highlighted that as a Democratic State, we believe in the promotion of the rule of law, human rights, good governance and transparency; as embedded in our National Constitution.
“Our people have enjoyed access to basic services such as health, gender equality, economic empowerment, education and justice.
“Citizens have been able to pursue their freedoms in a peaceful and stable environment. In one way or the other, these were all achieved through cordial friendship and partnership with the United States and we thank you for that.
“Solomon Islands non-security challenges are most eminent, the threat of climate change, food security, internal instability and non-communicable diseases present a greater threat to the population.
Therefore, addressing these challenges is a priority for us and as such we look forward to working with the United States, through genuine partnership and cooperation.
“I would like to say that, we have great challenges and great opportunities, and with the help of the United States in terms of development cooperation and security partnership, we will meet these challenges and opportunities together and make this year and onward the best in our history,’’ said Sir Vunagi.
By BRYAN LUVENA