The member for East Are Are and Chairman of the Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee, Hon. Peter Kenilorea Jr, is concerned about the slow progress in the appointment of an Ambassador to the UN as well a High Commissioner to New Zealand.
‘I am concerned about the slow pace of the appointments to top vacant diplomatic posts in our overseas missions’, Kenilorea stated.
He stressed that the position of the Solomon Islands Ambassador to the UN has been vacant for sometime now, stating that ‘we have not had an Ambassador at the UN for a year and a half already’.
Solomon Islands is currently a member of the important Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the main organ that deals with development matters at the UN having been voted into one of the seats for the Asia and Pacific Group at the UN.
‘With such a prestigious position at the UN, Solomon Islands must not delay any further in appointing an Ambassador to head our UN Mission at UN headquarters in New York’. He expressed concerns that despite a shift to virtual meetings ‘the absence of an Ambassador physically stationed in New York might begin to allow questions to be raised regarding the seriousness of our membership to the ECOSOC’.
He added that ‘in international diplomacy, nothing trumps physical face-to-face meetings.
He also stated that ‘Solomon Islands had campaigned for the ECOSOC seat for many years so we must take the responsibilities that come with being a member of this influential council seriously’.
Hon. Kenilorea also observed that the absence of an Ambassador at the UN may have negatively impacted our efforts to join global consensus on important issues.
‘I observed that we did not even vote in the resolution on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), an important doctrine that the international community adopted in 2005 which has now been elevated into the UN General Assembly Agenda’.
‘Voting was conducted on 18 May but it is disappointing to see that we did not even vote’.
‘We need to lend our voice and our vote in solidarity with the international community in support of these momentous developments such as the R2P’, Hon. Kenilorea added, ‘especially when these developments reflect the values and principles we, Solomon Islands, stand for’.
Kenilorea called on the government to appoint an Ambassador to the UN as a matter of urgency. He also recalled that the Solomon Islands Ambassador to the UN is also the Country’s Ambassador to the United States of America and the High Commissioner to Canada.
‘The USA and Canada are both looking to increase their engagement with Solomon Islands and it is only appropriate that the government appoint an Ambassador/High Commissioner who will look after our interests in both the UN in New York as well as in Washington D.C and Ottawa’.
‘We all know that New Zealand is one of our closest traditional partners and friends. I, therefore, further call on the government to expedite the appointment of a High Commissioner to Wellington, if that has not been done, and quickly have him or her installed in Wellington as soon as possible.