Friday 20th August 2021
PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare has thanked Australia for the cooperation in enhancing the Solomon Island Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team’s capability.
The Prime Minister highlighted during the launching of the Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) package support from the Australian Government at the Office of the Prime Minister & Cabinet today.
Prime Minister Sogavare said it has certainly come at the right time.
“I am heartened to note that this is a continuous support offered by Australia to the EOD unit, with the initial package being delivered by a pre-existing Explosive Ordnance Disposal Cooperation between Australia and Solomon Islands, under the Defence Cooperation Program since 2019,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the project aims to deliver substantial infrastructure work at Hells point, alongside much needed equipment and training.
Prime Minister Sogavare said the package of support will boost the EOD’s current skills level and provide them with enhanced capabilities to allow them to execute their duties more safely and effectively.
“The Government of Australia’s support remains unwavering, and this new EOD offer further reflects the deep and enduring partnership between our two countries – it’s a partnership that is growing and reflects true friendship between our two countries and people,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare said a more coordinated and a “whole of government approach” is needed to tackle the UXO issues and the Solomon Islands Government is committed to it.
Therefore, he said it is in the Government’s interest through the Ministry of police, National Security & Correctional Services that necessary review be carried out to enhance the capacity, capability, cooperation and operation of our National UXO policy and UXO Action Plan.
Prime Minister Sogavare also thanked the Australian government, specifically the Australian Defence Force (ADF) for the offer to support the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force in enhancing and capacitating the RSIPF to deal with UXOs.
“Australia’s support over many decades in building the capacity of the RSIPF through the Defence Cooperation programmes has been and continues to be a significant element in addressing our security and law and order,” he said.