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Goal to enhance relations between PNG, Solomons

By Ednal Palmer HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Feb. 17, 2010) - The expansion of the Papua New Guinea chancery in the Solomon Islands symbolically demonstrates the commitment to traditional and future interests of PNG and Solomon Islands.

PNG high Commissioner Aiwa Olmi, when speaking to the media yesterday at the construction site, emphasized the need for the two countries to expand their chanceries in each other’s country.

"The PNG chancery expansion project here is purposely to further enhance the economic, social and diplomatic relations between the two countries," Mr. Olmi said.

The Government had given the land opposite the Rugby stadium at Town Ground to the PNG government for their chancery to reciprocate land given to the Solomon Islands government for a chancery in Port Moresby.

The PNG’s PNG$30 million [US$11 million] building is in its first phase and is expected to complete in November this year.

Olmi said the two countries have had some traditional connection which is still honored.

"PNG and Solomon Islands have had traditional, customary and trade exchanges – there were exchanges of goods and inter-marriage even before Westernization and discovery of the two countries, so we would want to build on that in these modern times."

He said upon completion of the chancery, all significant department representatives will be introduced as part of the strengthening strategy.

"At the moment we only have officers from the department of foreign affairs and trade manning the mission with locally engaged staff and diplomats.

"But on completion, we will have defense attaché, police attaché, trade commissioners, people from customs and revenue commission and chamber of commerce and mines energy and education in PNG represented here in the office because the two countries relationship is slowly progressing to newer heights."

Olmi said this will mean sharing of not only ideas but to enhance trade on goods and services, development, education and other social activities.

"Because there will be a need for more trade and social exchanges such as in the education sector, we need to develop. UPNG is now opening its campus here as an evidence of that.

"There are a lot of developments in PNG and Solomon Islands is expanding its chancery in preparation to benefit from those developments just like the development here, we are preparing to be part of it."

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