Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo pledged to pursue the West Papua issue through Solomon Islands’ newly establish diplomatic office in Indonesia.
When asked on Friday on arrival from his recent overseas leg of visits about the West Papua issue, Mr Lilo said the Solomon Islands – Indonesia bilateral relationship is a platform to ensuring misinformation are gathered and verified properly.
Vanuatu is currently the only Melanesian country that is supporting West Papua.
“I met with the out-going president of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and talked with the president elect Joko Widodo on this issue.”
He said Solomon Islands intention is to go down to the root of the problem and solve the facts, not rumours.
“The only way is to engage in partnership for a best solution.
“With understanding of the issues, it will be better in handling the issues when on the ground,” he explained.
Mr Lilo said his meeting with the outgoing president has been fruitful on that matter, and agreed to allow Solomon Islands permission into West Papua on a common understanding.
“Indonesia’s President Elect, Joko Widodo emphasize similar sentiments and Solomon Islands is looking forward to working closely with his government,” he added.
He said whilst there, he also made other bilateral talks on investment and education.
He held high-level talks with Indonesia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) Ltd Company and Maritim Timur Jaya (Indonesia’s first and largest fisheries industrial estate).
“I formally welcomed Indonesian investors into the country.
“Ten scholarships have also been secured during talks with the Indonesian.
“Ten scholarships have been offered by Indonesia for Solomon Islands, and I am sure this will be very important for our children.
“Education plays a vital role to development therefore such moves are positive for the country.”
BY BRADFORD THEONOMI