The recent three days visit by Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) Prime Minister James Marape has further uplifted the relations between the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, according to Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
Marape brought with him a delegation of over 50 businessmen and women from PNG to explore and establish business relations with local Solomon Islands business establishments, a statement from Government Communication Unit said.
The relationship between the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea has started well before both countries established diplomatic relations more than 40 years ago based on shared history, blood ties, cultural links and connections, common interests, mutual respect, dialogue, and cooperation.
“Our relationship has grown from strength to strength over the years and your visit to the Solomon Islands will cement our relations even further.
“We strongly value our friendship with Papua New Guinea as a close Melanesian brother and neighbor,” Mr. Sogavare said at a dinner on Friday.
The Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea share a common border that recognizes the cultural relations that people along the border areas have enjoyed over the years. Traditional inhabitants who live within the border areas can travel freely across the border to engage in traditional activities.
These are provided for within the frameworks of the two countries’ border agreements. The Joint Border Committee (JBC) is the mechanism with which our respective border agencies work cooperatively together to ensure our common border is protected for the security and well-being of both our peoples.
Prime Minister Sogavare also informed his PNG counterpart of the Solomon Island’s government’s current work on establishing a multi-agency border post in the Western Province with support from the Government of Australia.
The border post will have staff from immigration, police, health, customs, and quarantine to ensure it aids the free movement of people, goods and services and that it helps in protecting people living along the border.
“We looked forward to working with your law enforcement agencies to operationalize the various border agreements that we have in place,” Sogavare said.
Sogavare also thanked the Government of PNG for its ongoing assistance to the Solomon Islands in the area of education and training.
Currently, there are over 200 Solomon Islands students studying in PNG institutions.
“Solomon Islands is forever grateful for the support provided by PNG in helping us develop our human resources across many disciplines that are helping the development of Solomon Islands,” Sogavare said.
Marape concludes his visit to the Solomon Islands with a church service at the Betikama Adventist College before returning to Port Moresby on Saturday afternoon.