Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has received a courtesy call from the visiting United Kingdom’s Foreign Affairs Secretary, Honourable James Cleverly.
Honourable Cleverly’s visit marks the first time a foreign secretary of UK has visited Solomon Islands in a long time.
During the brief courtesy visit, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare emphasized that government’s challenge is to provide opportunities for young men and women who converged into Honiara where social and economic activities are centred.
PM Sogavare said urban drift has stretched social services and even land- grabbing much to the dismay of landowners.
He added that government’s challenge is not only to provide opportunities for the young men and women, but to ensure that Solomon Islands remain a united nation.
The Prime Minister highlighted that Solomon Islands as a country cannot make an impact in the international arena, it can only do so through the regional platform such as the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).
He said through the PIF, Solomon Islands strongly support the Rarotonga Treaty and calls for respect of the same.
The Prime Minister also acknowledged UK’s support for Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) in building the capacity of the national broadcaster to deliver services effectively to the country.
PM Sogavare acknowledged that SIBC is the unifying factor that holds the country together.
He added that government has been supporting SIBC since its removal from the State Owned Enterprise Act.
The Prime Minister also enquired about opportunities for locals to be enlisted in the UK’s naval army, to which the UK Foreign Affairs Secretary said opportunities are there in the naval force, however, lately rules have changed to accommodate Pacific Islanders who may have tattoos above their neck or face.
Solomon Islands is a member of the Commonwealth by virtue of being a former British Protectorate and as a member of the Commonwealth, recognizes the King of England as the Head of State represented by the Governor General.