FOREIGN Minister Hon Jeremiah Manele has held bilateral talks with his Australian counterpart Senator Marise Payne in New York over the weekend.
A statement from the Prime Minister Press Secretariat said Foreign Minister Manele told Ms Payne that Solomon Islands continue to cherish the long relationship shared with Australia.
That said, Mr Manele has acknowledged Australia’s cooperation and support in the area of maritime security.
He said the new guardian class patrol boats to be handed over by Australia to Solomon Islands will serve to upscale maritime surveillance in the national EEZ, assist during times of disaster and to accommodate for humanitarian needs.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare is expected attend the commissioning of the new boats in Australia next month.
“The provision of the boats is timely in view of the Government’s plan to establish a multi-agency base in the Western Province,” Minister Manele said.
Senator Payne in response said that Australia has already undertaken two scoping visits to ascertain possible support for the proposed multi-agency base.
Both leaders also discussed the issue on cyber security as Solomon Islands prepares for the undersea cable to be operational in December this year.
Minister Manele said both countries must also collaborate to support work in preparing domestic legislations and regulations to control and manage internet usage.
With regards to Labour Mobility, both foreign ministers acknowledged the win-win gains from the current arrangement.
Senator Payne expressed her deep satisfaction with the conduct of Solomon Island workers, especially the women workers.
“Trainings, exposure to Australia experiences and remittances are some of the positive gains for workers,” she said.
With the establishment of the PLS Coordination Office in Brisbane, Solomon Islands new Consul General interactions is expected to be further enriched.
Meanwhile, Senator Payne told Mr Manele that bilateral relations between Australia and Solomon Islands remain solid despite Solomon Islands switch in diplomatic ties to China.
Minister Manele in response has acknowledged Senator Payne and the Australian government for respecting Solomon Islands sovereign decision to switch ties.