SOLOMON ISLANDS TO SEEK U.S. ‘MILLENNIUM’ FUNDS

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By Joy Rikimae

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 30) – The Solomon Islands government will be submitting a proposal to the Millennium Challenge Corporation to seek funds from the millennium account.

Millennium Challenge Corporation was established by United States President George Bush three years ago to provide grant to developing countries.

"The number one issue for the visit was to discuss with the U.S. Embassy in Papua New Guinea, the intention of the present government to make a submission to Millennium Challenge Corporation. And we are developing a proposal now which will take us to Washington in March and perhaps we will follow this up with President Bush when he meets with Pacific leaders in April," Mr. Oti said.

"We want to meet the Millennium Challenge Corporation board, we want to meet with certain congress men and so on, so that is one of the most important considerations why we have to make the trip to Port Moresby. The ambassador is ready to go to Hawaii for a meeting for ambassadors so we think this is the only time we can catch her," Mr. Oti said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Oti said other important issues discussed during his Papua New Guinea trip were police training, the funding assistance for Solomon Islands students in Papua New Guinea institutions and the funding for the establishment of Solomon Islands’ new High Commission Chancery Office.

With regards to the police training, Mr. Oti said it is part of the development cooperation arrangement between Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea

"There has always been a scope for training and exchange of police personnel between Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea much before the present arrangement under RAMSI. The government wanted to revisit that arrangement because of what we think was shown in the training of police personnel and particularly the stand-off between Solomon Islands and RAMSI, regarding the rearming of the CPP," he said.

He added that firearm training is normal police training in any part of the world including Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Australia and so on. "So what we are also putting in place is training for Solomon Islands police personnel in Papua New Guinea not to substitute for the training that we are receiving under RAMSI but to compliment those areas that RAMSI is not able to train our police officers on."

Solomon Star: www.solomonstarnews.com/

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