Solomon Islands and New Zealand ties reaffirmed

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Tozaka and McCully

The Governments of Solomon Islands and New Zealand have re-affirmed close bilateral cooperation when the Foreign Ministers of the two countries met in New Zealand last week.

A statement from the Government Communication Unit says, Solomon Islands Foreign Minister Milner Tozaka and his New Zealand counterpart Murray McCully met in Auckland at the end of a weeklong Ministerial visit to New Zealand by Hon. Tozaka.

“The two leaders discussed a range of issues including further cooperation in the areas of Labour Mobility, Aviation, Tourism, Post RAMSI Policing and New Zealand’s Partnership Programme to assist Youths in Solomon Islands.”

“Our relationship is characterized by regular political dialogue, a strong development partnership underpinned by strong economic and growing people-to-people links” said Minister McCully.

In 2016, Solomon Islands and New Zealand has signed a Joint Commitment for Development (JCfD) partnership based on the goal of achieving economic growth, a well-educated workforce and a safe and stable Solomon Islands.

Both Ministers acknowledged the Recognised Seasonal Employment (RSE) Scheme and the benefits it has offered to both countries.

At the same time, New Zealand pledge to support Solomon Islands to build and strengthen its capacity to increases the number of its RSE workers in New Zealand.

On Aviation, the two Ministers acknowledged the ongoing cooperation in the improvement of the Munda International Airport project and the upgrading of two other domestic airports in the country, Seghe in Western Province and Suavanao in Isabel Province.

The airport improvement projects are essential for the tourism industry in Solomon Islands.

In terms of airport management reforms, the Solomon Islands Government is committed to the reforms and is currently implementing the reforms with support of the New Zealand Government.

The establishment of the Solomon Islands Airports Limited (SIAL) company in 2016 is part of the airport management reforms.

Minister McCully also highlighted New Zealand’s commitment to support the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSPIF) in the area of community policing and crime prevention when RAMSI leaves in June this year.

One of the target areas is to support Youths in Sports as part of the post-RAMSI community policing arrangement between the two countries.

New Zealand sees community policing and youth engagement as important for Solomon Islands and is working closely with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) to provide support in this area after RAMSI leaves.

The two leaders concluded discussions on trade and investment where New Zealand has announced that there will be a Trade Mission to be led by the New Zealand Pacific Business Council to Solomon Islands in June this year.

The Trade Mission will provide an opportunity for business entities from both countries to explore potential investment areas and market opportunities.