BY MIKE TUA
A delegation of U.S. officials led by the United States (US) President Joe Biden’s National Security Council Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific Dr. Kurt Campbell concluded 2 days of high-level strategic discussion on Tuesday with the Solomon Islands Prime Minister and senior Government officials in Honiara.
Dr. Kurt told local journalists in Honiara that the U.S. is more determined and committed to resolving its political and bilateral relationship with the people and the government of the Solomon Islands through an equal long-term partnership and opportunity in the areas of investment, infrastructure, technology, fisheries, agriculture, forestry, transportation, tourism, education, conservation and climate change that will meet the immediate needs of every Solomon Islanders.
“I just want to underscore that on this short visit to the Solomon Islands, we’ve sought at every stop to underscore our commitment and determination to work with the government and people of the Solomon Islands to support the urgent challenges that they face daily.
“So for instance, we are here in the Solomon Islands to discuss issues associated with the urgent demands of climate change of illegal fishing matters associated with unexploded ordinance leftover from past conflicts initiatives to advance education initiatives between the United States, other countries, and also several opportunities for exchanges, investments, technology partnerships,” Dr. Kurt told local journalists.
Commenting on the plans to re-establish the Peace Corps program and other programs to boost the education sector of the Solomon Islands, Dr. Kurt said the US has underscored the strong desire to welcome back Peace Corps volunteers to the Solomon Islands.
“This was important because it allowed us to go through concretely the specific issues that are important for both of our countries. So for instance, we were able to underscore that we’re extremely close to being able to welcome back the Peace Corps volunteers to the Solomon.
“We will be seeking specific partnerships for the university enrolment programs with American academic institutions, this is to ensure that students have the opportunities to advance in forestry and Marine Studies.
“We also are seeking opportunities for our two countries to work together in executive education.
“The President announced a major initiative in which we will start to train the up-and-coming leaders and executive people in the governments and institutions of the Pacific in Washington DC later this year.
“I think that we were very pleased with the very practical discussions. We have a list to follow up on.
“There are sometimes misunderstandings about how processes are undertaken in both of our governments and the best way to deal with those is to sit down directly and figure out how to make progress as we go forward. So I would judge this visit to be very successful. We are following up on the commitments that we made earlier. And we want to do more as we go forward,” he added.
Dr. Kurt emphasized the need for more employment opportunities in the country.
“We could look to bring new development, finance tools, and other partnerships to bear to help the Solomon Islands develop new initiatives that will bring jobs to the Solomon Islands will help us address adaptation, resilience, for climate change, looking at sustainable agriculture, forestry, and other agricultural initiatives, so that we can bring a positive agenda in keeping with what people in the Solomon Islands want and need.
“And so we’re looking forward to continuing to have those conversations,” he added.