Solomon Islands and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are desirous of strengthening their bilateral relationship by expanding the scope of their existing partnership programme.
Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Hon Manasseh Sogavare and the UAE Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Solomon Islands, His Excellency Dr Obaid Al Hairi Salem Al Ketbi expressed their desire for enhanced bilateral relationship between their two countries when they met today.
The Canberra-based ambassador paid a courtesy visit to the Prime Minister after presenting his credentials to the Governor General Sir Frank Ofagioro Kabui at the Government House earlier today.
Prime Minister Sogavare told the ambassador that the Solomon Islands Government has recently pushed for south-south cooperation arrangements and its desire to strengthen ties with the UAE is consistent with this intention.
Solomon Islands has been a beneficiary of UAE’s Partnership in the Pacific Program and other developments both at a bilateral and international level since establishing diplomatic ties with UAE in 2010. UAE-Pacific Partnership programme covers the renewable energy sector.
Prime Minister Sogavare thanked UAE for its renewable energy assistance to Solomon Islands. This assistance saw the installation of a solar-power plant for Solomon Power earlier this year to boost its power supply and thus reduce electricity charges for Honiara residents.
He added that, “There are lots of other areas that we can explore in terms of our partnership. Our strength lies in our natural and human resources.
“We are working on a Special Economic Zones Legislation and the areas we are targeting are agriculture, fisheries and tourism. Talking about tourism in particular, Solomon Islands has lots to attract tourists into the country.
In response, the UAE High Commissioner said, “The reason we are here is to strength our relationship and we are keen to expand the scope of our partnership for the benefit of our two countries.”
He said tourism, cultural heritage, airline services, renewable energy, oil and sovereign investments are amongst the main sources of revenue for UAE and there is much that Solomon Islands can learn from UAE in these areas.
Ambassador Obaid Al Hairi Salem Al Ketbi said UAE encourages its citizens to visit Solomon Islands, adding that Solomon Islands is indeed an interesting place with so much to offer to the world in terms of tourism.
Prime Minister Sogavare and the UAE ambassador also took the opportunity to assure each other of their two country’s commitment to continue working together at the United Nations fora for the accomplishment of the Sustainable Development Goals.