PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare says Australia is dear friend of Solomon Islands and a partner of choice.
The Prime Minister made this statement during the Australian Day celebrations in Honiara on Tuesday night.
“We are permanent neighbours. We share common borders. Our bilateral relations remain steadfast and has grown steadily from strength to strength over the years. We deeply value our relationship with Australia as a genuine partner and dear friend,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare said Solomon Islands gratefully acknowledged the ongoing support provided by Australia throughout the years in many areas including education, health, tourism, national security, governance, development, trade, and labour mobility.
“In this regard Australia’s unwavering support, friendship, and willingness to work in partnership with us in our development endeavour is a testament of a true friend,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare said the bond of friendship between Solomon Islands and Australia are special.
He said Solomon Islands has enjoyed a longstanding and evolving relationship with Australia through people-to-people connections.
The Prime Minister also highlighted that a growing number of Solomon Islanders reside in Australia either through family connections or as Permanent Residents.
He said some have even taken up Australian citizenship.
“As partners and friends, we have to continue to work together, engage in honest conversation and meaningful dialogue. Your partnership and friendship in this endeavour will go a long way in making changes to the lives of the ordinary Solomon Islanders. Changes that will bring prosperity and economic opportunities for all Solomon Islanders,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare has also conveyed on behalf of the people and the government of the Solomon Islands to the government and people of Australia warmest congratulations and best wishes to all Australians here and abroad.
“We are honoured to join you in celebrating your diverse cultures, your values, your sense of freedom and the spirit of unity as Australians,” he said.