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Solomon Islands visit.



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Media Contact : Brian Mitchell (Mr Kerr’s Office) (03) 6234 5255 or 0434 160 539 DFAT Media (02) 6261 1555

DK006/08 9 July 2008

SOLOMON ISLANDS VISIT

It was an honour and a real pleasure to participate in Solomon Islands 30th Independence Anniversary celebrations. On behalf of the people of Australia, I again offer my congratulations to Solomon Islands on this important occasion.

At the Prime Minister’s Independence Ball, I was pleased to present Prime Minister Sikua with a clock, set in the wood of an Australian coolibah.

This gift, to the people of Solomon Islands on the 30th Anniversary of Independence, marks the passage of time since independence and Australia’s hope for a bright and prosperous future for the people of Solomon Islands.

In a meeting with Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua, I discussed opportunities to build on the renewed constructive and cooperative partnership between Australia and Solomon Islands under the CNURA government.

A visit to Malaita on 8 July gave me the opportunity to experience firsthand the considerable progress which has been made through the AusAID funded Community Sector Program and NGO Cooperation Agreement, as well as the RAMSI Law and

Justice Program. While there are clear signs that life has begun to change for the better, much work remains to achieve the aspirations of the Solomon Islands Government for its people.

In this context, I commend the implementation of the RAMSI/European Union/World Bank Rural Development Program which is being delivered through the Solomon Islands Government. The first phase, covering the four provinces of Malaita, Temotu, Choiseul and Western Province, will increase access by rural communities to priority infrastructure and services, and improved the level and security of rural livelihoods.

We are mindful of Solomon Islands development needs and priorities. These will be at the forefront of our considerations as we work together in the near future to develop a Pacific Partnership for Development to improve long-term development outcomes.

Australia remains committed to working with Solomon Islands, through our bilateral aid program and our contribution to RAMSI, to build a peaceful and sustainable future for Solomon Islands.