Confusion Over PNG High Commission In Solomon Islands

admin's picture

Recalled commissioner has not had position revoked yet

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 15, 2013) –

There are currently two heads for the Papua New Guinea high commission in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

They are Engans – the National Executive Council appointed Brian Yombom-Copio and Foreign Affairs assigned Sakias Tameo.

The internal diplomatic bungle between the two foreign officials for the PNG office is already causing confusion for the host country as they are receiving differing instructions and do not know who to listen to or who’s diplomatically the legal head of mission. It is also understood the local PNG officials are also not sure who to present their issues to some of which are crucial at this time as differing instructions have been put out by the two on who to report to.

Yesterday, with the help of the Solomon Star and Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC), the Post-Courier was able to get comments from the Solomon Islands Foreign Office.

The officials told the Post-Courier that the Solomon Islands government technically and diplomatically still recognizes Mr. Yombom-Copio as the head of mission in their country for two reasons: PNG has not sent a diplomatic note to Honiara advising of the changes made regarding the two heads of missions, and no requests or advice, according to protocol, to the Head of State for any changes as the head of mission is obliged to pay a courtesy call on several leaders.

[PIR editor’s note: Yombom-Copio was recalled earlier this month as a result of "administrative" matters. He has been implicated in a traffic accident that occurred in the Solomon Islands, which allegedly "drew damaging media publicity" to his position and possibly to PNG.]

The officials could not comment further, saying they are not privy to what is a matter for PNG.

"It will affect those who want to travel to PNG, but like we said we will not go into details as it is your country’s issues to sort out," the SI foreign officials said.

Back in PNG, according to clarification sought from the government and the PM’s office yesterday, appointments and revocation of appointments of high commissioners and ambassadors, or heads of missions, is the prerogative of the National Executive Council (cabinet). "Therefore technically speaking, Yombom-Copio still remains as the high commissioner of Solomon Islands to represent PNG until such time Cabinet revokes his appointment," an official said.

Acting secretary ambassador Lucy Bogari could not be reached for comment yesterday, however Foreign Affairs officials contacted by the Post-Courier said the appointment of Mr. Tameo was done by acting Foreign secretary Ms. Bogari, using her discretion as the head of the department.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment