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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Oct. 17) – Solomon Islands last week established diplomatic ties with Austria, a country in Europe.

Solomon Islands Ambassador to the United Nations Collin Beck signed a joint communiqué with his Austrian colleague Gerhard Peanzelzer formalizing relations between the two countries on Friday.

Austria is a member of the European Union and a strong supporter of the cause of Small Islands Developing States.

Mr. Beck said in January this year that the Government of Austria offered free office space in Vienna for visiting Solomon Islands delegations to the country, including other visiting Small Islands Developing States delegations.

"Austria hosts the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation to which Solomon Islands has a number of projects that are currently being considered," Mr. Beck said.

During a brief discussion between the two Ambassadors, Mr. Beck acknowledged the importance and contribution of the European Union programmes to the development of the country and committed the government’s desire to work with Austria on bilateral and multilateral issues of common concerns.

Austria will be taking over the European Union Presidency in January 2006 at the United Nations, as well as in Brussels.

Austria becomes the 47th country Solomon Islands has formal relations with, and the 13th of the 25 members of the European Union that the country has established diplomatic relations with.

Mr. Beck says this new relationship marks the ongoing broadening of Solomon Islands’ foreign policy.

October 18, 2005

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