Wale questions delay in processing entry into country of US Officials
The leader of the opposition, Hon. Mathew Wale, MP for Aoke Langalanga, has questioned the reasons behind the delay in the processing of entry of US officials into the country as reported by the media.
‘I understand from media reports that it has been over two months now since the necessary application processes to enter the country were initiated by the US Government’.
Hon. Wale stated that he is aware of the entry processes given the current Covid 19 situation but he stressed that, ‘for one of our traditional friends to wait so long for their entry into the country is unreasonable’.
USA has recently strengthened its engagement with Solomon Islands with the Scale Programme focusing initially on Malaita Province.
The leader of opposition stated that, ‘this move by one of our traditional partners to engage more meaningfully in our nation should be reciprocated by our relevant government authorities by facilitating smoother entry for US Officials’.
Hon. Wale cautioned the government to avoid the perception of treating our development partners differently. ‘It is extremely important that we, as a nation, continue to abide by various protocols and those contained under the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations’.
He added that, ‘at the very least we should treat our friends with common decency and mutual respect’.
Further to the current rolling out of the Scale Programme on Malaita, Hon. Wale is aware that the US has been looking to elevate its offices in Honiara as well. He stated that, ‘this intention by the US is a positive signal in strengthening US/Solomon Islands relations, cooperation and historical close ties’.
There are many issues and opportunities for cooperation with the US, including the resumption of the US Peace Corp programme in the country. Other issues of relevance for which the government should engage more closely with the US includes the matter of UXOs, which has been a long outstanding matter.
Hon. Wale urged the government to speed up the entry processes for the US officials.
‘I urge the government to facilitate the entry processes of these US officials, in a safe and reasonable manner, to allow them to continue with their work on the ground’.