PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare pledges to build stronger partnership with the country’s traditional allies.
The statement was welcomed amidst unconfirmed reports the Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) could extend a hand of friendship to mainland China.
A member of the DCC spoken to prior to the election yesterday, said options to engage new partners was on the table although declined to confirm the unconfirmed reports.
But Mr Sogavare during his maiden speech immediately after he was declared winner of the election said, his group will continue to build stronger and constructive partnership with traditional allies.
“We all recognise the challenges that lie ahead in building a stronger Solomon Islands.
“This is a task that demands our collective effort.
“And it is exactly for this reason, that I am looking forward to building stronger and constructive partnerships with our traditional allies,” he said.
He however added that it is important it can be done with traditional and enterprising new players.
“Opportunities lie abundant with the old and new, and geographically for Solomon Islands, these opportunities are just around the corner,” he said.
The country’s relationship with Australia was at its low when Prime Minister elect Manasseh Sogavare was at the helm in 2006/7.
This was sparked by the Julian Moti saga, which subsequently resulted in the expulsion of the then Australian High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands,Patrick Cole.
Mr Sogavare’s firmness on his decision subsequently cost his leadership power – the sovereignty stance many Solomon Islanders admired and endorsed.
The Australian government yesterday welcomed the election of Mr Sogavare.
Australian Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Brett Mason said the Australian government is looking forward to working closely with the PM elect and his new government on building the two countries’ strong bilateral relationship and pursuing common interest in the pacific region.
Mr Sogavare’s election yesterday was welcomed by many Solomon Islanders who flooded the social media to welcome and congratulate his elevation to the top job.
DCC is expected to announce its ministerial line-up soon. Their policy statement is expected within the next 50 days.
By EDNAL PALMER