SOLOMON Islands and the Republic of Vanuatu have renewed ‘acquaintances with each other,’ a statement from the Prime Minister’s Press Secretariat said.
Prime Ministers Manasseh Sogavare and Ishmael Kalsakau deliberated on the above and other issues of mutual concern and interest between their two countries at the margins of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Special retreat at Denarau, Fiji, last weekend, the statement said.
“The need to look at bolstering security cooperation is fundamental for a stable Melanesian subregion. Security, including humanitarian needs of the subregion, must be taken into consideration, especially in key areas like dealing with the adverse impacts of climate change and sea-level rise.
“Both leaders agreed, the need is greater to shore-up on trade between the two countries. On this, remaining members of the MSG are encouraged to sign the MSG Free Trade Agreement concluded in 2016. Solomon Islands has since signed the agreement,” the statement added.
The statement said Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have agreed to rejuvenate the MSG grouping in light of the need for regional unity and dynamics.
“There is need for a stronger MSG Group to bolster and drive the cooperation towards the subregion’s interest. Melanesia has the Pacific region’s largest landmass and population,” it added.
On other MSG and regional issues, the statement said both prime ministers agreed that deeper reflection and a more assertive MSG approach is needed.