15 July 2021
Australia has offered to provide up to an additional one million AstraZeneca doses to Solomon Islands.
The Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, His Excellency Dr Lachlan Strahan, personally conveyed this to Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare yesterday (14/07/21).
High Commissioner Dr Strahan said his office is in close contact with the Minister of Health and Medical services, Dr Culwick Togamana, on the vaccine roll out to ensure doses are provided when they are needed and can be administered.
“50,000 doses will likely arrive around 30 July,” Dr Strahan told Prime Minister Sogavare.
“We are right behind you on this Prime Minister”, he added.
On the new Australian Agriculture Visa with South East Asian nations, Dr Strahan said the visa details are yet to be finalised.
He said wide consultations are ongoing. One thing is for sure, it will not undermine the current labour mobility programs benefitting Solomon Islands.
About 512 Solomon Islands workers are due to fly out to Australia by the end of October.
This will bring the total to around 2,500 by the end of the year.
“Australia will fulfil its commitment to Solomon Islands in the Pacific labour mobility programs”, the High Commissioner stressed.
On the area of National Security, High Commissioner Strahan said Australia is keen to press ahead with the patrol boat outpost project on the western border.
He said Australian engineers and surveyors will fly into the country to start work as soon as borders are opened. He noted that Australia also hoped to undertake a hydrographic survey soon.
Above all, the Australian High Commissioner thanked Prime Minister Sogavare for the events of last month (the Australian funding package for the Tina River hydro scheme transmission lines, launching Australia’s new Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program, the ground-breaking ceremony for the patrol boat outpost and the arrival of the second Guardian class patrol boat manufactured in Perth).
These events underscored the strength, depth and durability of the Solomon Islands-Australia relationship particularly on energy, infrastructure and security.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare said he is thankful to the government and people of Australia for the warm political relationship enjoyed by the two countries.
Prime Minister Sogavare expressed utmost thanks to Australia for all the assistance to Solomon Islands.
Prime Minister Sogavare said he looked forward to receiving the additional AstraZeneca doses from Australia.
“A few people have come up with conspiracy theories that have caused resistance on the use of the vaccine but they will be taken to task if they continue,” warned the Prime Minister.
Solomon Islands cherishes its relationship with Australia.
We are forever linked by sea and waves of friendship. Our relationship will only grow stronger, said Prime Minister Sogavare.