PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare and the new Indonesian Ambassador to Solomon Islands, Ronald Manik said they want to see a strengthened bilateral relationship between their two countries.
The duo expressed this desire when they met Thursday in Honiara during a courtesy visit the Indonesian envoy paid theprime minister.
Mr Manik was in Honiara to present his letters of credence to the Governor General Sir Frank Kabui.
“My Minister for Foreign Affairs who was here recently wants to see the relationship between our country and your country strengthened and she is working to ensure this,” he said.
“She was very happy with her visit to Honiara. She said it has had very fruitful discussions with your deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister.”
In response, Mr Sogavare said:
“Solomon Islands and Indonesia are next door neighbours. We both share borders with Papua New Guinea and I would also like to see our relationship kept intact and bolstered.
“Our relationship has always been based on mutual understanding in that you respect our sovereignty and we respect your sovereignty.
“When issues affect our mutual interests we should continue to see each other as friends and address them through our diplomatic missions.”
Ambassador Manik also used the opportunity to advocate for Indonesia as a young but vibrant democratic country.
“Indonesia has been a free and open country since our leadership change in 1998.
“There is now freedom of speech and expression in that people can freely speak their minds and the media can freely report on issues.
“Claims that four people in West Papua died in December 2014 as a result of genocide by the Indonesian Government were unbelievable.
“We are now living in a global village and Indonesia is not too ignorant to commit genocide.”
He said an investigation has been launched into the claims by a national commission for human rights and the Indonesian Government is determined to make the outcome public.
Prime Minister Sogavare welcomed the news of Indonesia’s adherence to the rules of democracy in the last 16 years and urged Jakarta to tell the world of these positive developments.
“This is indeed good news to us.
“It’s good to hear that you are now enjoying the freedom of speech and expression but you need to tell world of all these positive developments because all we’ve been hearing is bad news.
“As far as Solomon Islands is concerned, when it comes to the issue of human rights, it is a concern that we will have but there is a better way of addressing such issues.
“It’s good to know you have an independent human rights council in Indonesia, you also the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva to fully address human rights violations.
“As far as Solomon Islands as a member of the international community is concerned, we would like to see that the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva take active part in addressing human rights violations in Indonesia if there are any.”