Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has expressed appreciation over the progress made by Honiara and Suva in their move to swiftly resolve the air service standoff between Solomon Islands and Fiji.
The Prime Minister uttered his gratitude when the visiting Fiji Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ratu Inoke Kubuabola called on him Thursday morning.
Mr Ratu Kubuabola briefed the Prime Minister on the decisions reached in his discussion with his Solomon Islands counterpart Hon Milner Tozaka yesterday.
The Fiji Foreign and International Cooperation Minister said Fiji’s Minister for Aviation Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum will be meeting with his Solomon Islands counterpart in Suva next Monday as follow-up from his initial discussions on the airlines impasse with Mr Tozaka.
In response, Mr Sogavare thanked Mr Ratu Kubuabola for his visit and the positive approach taken by Fiji towards resolving the airlines impasse which has a greater impact on Solomon Islands.
He said it is paramount for Solomon Islands that the issue be resolved by next month as it will be its peak travel time to Fiji.
“We will be having a lot of people, especially Solomon Islanders studying in Fiji, travelling to Fiji in February and it is important that the impasse is resolved by that time.”
Mr Sogavare also raised issues of development cooperation between Solomon Islands and Fiji with Hon Ratu Kubuabola and the Fiji Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation assured him that his government will address some of the development cooperation issues raised.
An Agreement for Development Cooperation between Fiji and Solomon Islands signed in 2011 covers education, trade and investment, tourism, labour, aviation and judiciary.
At the conclusion of the discussions between the two leaders, Mr Ratu Kubuabola extended his government’s invitation for a state visit to Fiji by Mr Sogavare and presented him a Fijian kava bowel.
The Prime Minister thanked Ratu Kubuabola for the invitation and reciprocated his gift with a Solomon Islands traditional shell money neckwear.
Mr Ratu Kubuabola left the country on Thursday afternoon.
– Prime Minister’s Press secretariat