US Navy Hospital Ship ‘Mercy’ will return to our shores come November 19, thanks to the United States’ positive response to Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare’s request made in August last year at the inaugural visit of the ship.
The US Navy Hospital Ship will provide health services to the 24 countries that will converge into Honiara to participate in the 2023 Pacific Games.
Prime Minister Sogavare acknowledged US for confirming the availability of Mercy for the games from November 19 to December 2, 2023.
The positive response to Prime Minister’s request for the availability of US Navy Hospital Ship ‘Mercy’ during the Pacific Games constituted one of the number of important areas covered during the meeting between Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and United States’ National Security Council Coordinator for the Indo- Pacific and Deputy Secretary to President Biden, Dr. Kurt Campbell.
Other areas covered in the meeting, Prime Minister Sogavare acknowledged the opening of the US embassy here in Honiara as a sign of commitment by US to strengthen its partnership and relations with Solomon Islands.
PM Sogavare further acknowledged other assistance rendered to Solomon Islands, however, highlighting the need to invest in transformative projects particularly in infrastructure and renewable energy to drive economic growth and prosperity.
The Prime Minister also raised the need for US to take active stand to rebut or deny media publications that have implied US’s involvement in internal affairs of the country.
He also raised the issue of Unexploded Ordnance or UXO expressing the need for US to assist in removing the UXOs both on land and in specified areas in the sea.
Other social issues discussed including availing more scholarships for Solomon Islanders, partnership between SINU and US education institutions, easing visa requirements between the two countries, and the resumption of the Peace Corp program.
Prime Minister further acknowledged US’s commitment to the Washington Summit which saw US appointing Ambassador Reed as Pacific Envoy. This demonstrates US’s commitment to engage with the Pacific, one of the main outcomes of the Washington Summit.
PM Sogavare reaffirmed Solomon Islands stance to work closely with Ambassador Reed in ensuring that the commitments made in the Washington Summit are materialized.
Dr. Kurt Campbell has been to the country twice so far, his first visit was immediately after Solomon Islands and Peoples’ Republic of China signed the security agreement.