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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, April 18) – The Solomon Islands Ambassador to the European Union, Robert Sisilo, has resigned.

He will take up a job in Geneva, Switzerland on May 15; just 11 days before his third three-year term contract as ambassador ends on 26 May 2005.

The Suva-based Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat has offered Sisilo the post of Permanent Representative of the Pacific Islands Forum to the Geneva-based World Trade Organisation.

Sisilo, who was in Honiara last month, informed Prime Minister Allan Kemakeza and Foreign Minister Laurie Chan of his impending appointment.

Both the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister accepted Sisilo’s resignation.

As the Permanent Representative of the Pacific Islands Forum to the World Trade Organisation, Sisilo will actively participate in the international trade negotiations in Geneva to ensure that the rules and policies of the World Trade Organisation do take account of the interests and concerns of Pacific Island Countries.

This includes the representation of the common positions of Pacific Island Countries in the trade negotiations and building alliances with other like-minded members of the World Trade Organisation such as the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States.

Sisilo will therefore act as a channel of communication between the Pacific Island Countries and the World Trade Organisation.

He will follow developments in the World Trade Organisation on market access, technical assistance and other issues of priority interests to the Pacific Island Countries and will assist the Suva-based Forum Secretariat in providing policy advice to the Pacific Island Countries.

Sisilo, who hails from Sikaiana in Malaita Province, joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in January 1983 and was Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs when the late Solomon Mamaloni, then Prime Minister, appointed him Ambassador to the European Union in May 1996.

He is the country’s most senior and longest serving diplomat abroad and his resignation marks the end of a long diplomatic career that spanned 22 years; more than half of which were spent abroad -- three and half years representing Solomon Islands at the United Nations in New York, USA and nine years as Solomon Islands Ambassador to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium.

Sisilo is also Solomon Islands’ High Commissioner to Great Britain, Ambassador to Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands (Holland) and Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organisation.

April 19, 2005

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