The United Arab Emirates (UAE) non-resident Ambassador to Solomon Island H.E Abdullah Al Subousi paid a fruitful courtesy visit to the Acting Prime Minister, Hon. Manasseh Maelanga today.
Ambassador Subousi was accompanied by Nooh Al Hammadi – Director of East Asia and the Pacific Department, HE Rashed Al Qemzi – UAE Ambassador to New Zealand, Sara Fouad – Deputy Director of Development Cooperation Department, Ameera Al Ameri – Desk Officer and Ghanem Al Zaabi – Desk Officer.
The purpose of the visit was to deliver a COP28 Invitation letter from His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai to the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands and to discuss prospecting bilateral engagements and developments, regional and international issues of common interest.
This visit also provided an opportunity for both countries to address and follow up on proposed areas of cooperation, strengthening connections, linkages for trade and exploring business and labour mobility issues.
The Solomon Islands and the UAE established diplomatic relations on 29 April 2010 and within the past decade of fledging relations, Solomon Islands had been one of the beneficiaries of the UAE Partnership in the Pacific Program and other developments both at the bilateral and international level.
The relationship between UAE and SI has been grounded on mutual trust, shared vision and values of human rights and sustainable development. The very fabric of the engagement has been the work to secure mutual benefits from engaging with each other on areas of common interests.
One of the topics acknowledged by the two leaders was in International Trade as an outcome of Solomon Islands participation in the World Expo in Dubai in 2021, during which Solomon Islands secured trade partnerships, with a distributor for Solomon Islands canned tuna exports.
Similarly, the two leaders also acknowledge cooperation in the area of Renewable Energy which UAE is a champion and a world leader in terms of renewable energy services and assistances. For instance, under the UAE – Pacific Partnership Fund, UAE had assisted the Solomon Islands with solar power installation with Solomon Power in providing electricity services. This assistance resulted in the hand over the Power Plant Ownership to the Solomon Power in 2016.
Solomon Islands was among other countries that voted and support UAE to host the IRENA Agency, and Solomon Islands became a full member of the IRENA Agency in 2013. In November 2021, IRENA also responded positively to the Ministry of Mines Energy and Rural Electrification following a Government request for technical assistance.
The two leaders acknowledged Climate Change as an international security issue that affects both countries and had been discussed and in many exchanges between UAE and Solomon Islands. Like the Solomon Islands, UAE also faces the effects of climate change, hence, provided an opportunity for UAE and SI to work together on such issues of mutual concern.
The UAE is hosting UN climate change conference (COP 28) from 30 November to 12 December 2023, which provides opportunities for Solomon Islands to strengthen partnership with the UAE in areas of sustainable development initiatives/Programmes, climate change mitigation for SIDS, renewable energy, public and private sector investments.
Acting Prime Minister Maelanga formally conveyed the Government’s appreciation to UAE for assisting Solomon Islands and other Pacific Islands countries with medical supplies and equipment to help in efforts to combat and contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
He further Congratulated the UAE on hosting the upcoming COP28 saying Solomon Islands looks forward to attending the conference and hopes the two countries further enhance investments in the renewable energy sector, as well as to transform our land and sea based transport sectors to low carbon systems.
The Acting Prime Minister also expressed Solomon Islands excitement to open an Embassy in Abu Dhabi by the end of 2023. This is a priority for Solomon Islands which is crucial in strengthening our engagements and centered on mutual respect and admiration.