SOLOMONS TO ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC MISSION IN FIJI

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Mission would tend to needs of growing Solomons community

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (SIBC, Dec. 3, 2008) - Fiji’s interim cabinet has formally endorsed the establishment of Solomon Islands diplomatic mission in Fiji.

Fiji’s acting foreign minister Ratu Epeli Ganilau, said the intention of the Solomon Islands Government to establish a resident mission in the country was in recognition of the need to cater for the sizeable Solomon Islands community in Fiji, many of whom reside and/or study at the University of the South Pacific.

He said that the Solomon Islands Government had already undertaken a preliminary exploratory mission to expedite planning for the eventual establishment of a Mission.

Diplomatic relations between Fiji and the Government of the Solomon Islands were established on 28 July, 1978, although historical connections have existed for much longer.

Ratu Epeli said that ties between our two countries were cemented during the Guadalcanal - Solomon Islands campaign during World War II as well as through missionary contacts.

He said the political goodwill that has built up since then has been enhanced in recent years by, amongst other things, Fiji’s acceptance into the Melanesian Spearhead Group, and both countries' involvement in the Bougainville peace process.

Ratu Epeli said Fiji was also involved in the Solomon Islands peace process since the ethnic turmoil of 1999 to 2003 and was subsequently associated through the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands, RAMSI.

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