Foreign relations of Solomon Islands

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands' foreign policy as of 2008 was described by the Solomons' government as a "look north" policy, aimed as strengthening diplomatic and economic relations with Asian countries for development purposes.[1]

Diplomatic Representation[edit]

Countries with diplomatic missions in Solomon Islands are the Australia, Republic of China, Japan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and United Kingdom. The U.S. Ambassador resident in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea is also accredited to Solomon Islands. Canada, France, Germany, Sweden, South Korea and Malaysia have Honorary Consuls.

Solomon Islands has diplomatic missions in Canberra, Papua New Guinea, Taipei, at the United Nations in New York, where the ambassador there is also accredited as its ambassador to the United States of America, UNESCO in Paris and High Commissioner to Canada and at the European Commission in Brussels where the representative is also accredited as High Commissioner to the UK.

Bilateral relations[edit]

Australia[edit]

Relations with Australia were, until recently, strained, with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare accusing Australia of "heavy-handed" interference in Solomon Islands' domestic affairs, subsequently expelling Australia's High Commissioner to the country Patrick Cole. In a nationally televised address, Sogavare claimed that the Australian-led security forces in the Solomons had not dealt properly with the country's underlying problems.[2]

"We are concerned that Canberra's policies are aimed at excluding and containing the peoples of the region, instead of working collectively to address fundamental problems of social instability that can only be solved through dialogue, rather than the use of development aid, and political force as leverage, to dictate Australia's involvement"

Sogavare also claimed that Australia's involvement in the region could be "driving this country down the path of another conflict that could be more serious" than the April 2006 riots that broke out after an election won by the former deputy prime minister Snyder Rini, when thousands of anti-government protesters burned down buildings in Solomon Islands' capital Honiara's Chinese district, alleging that either the People's Republic of China or the Republic of China had paid lawmakers to vote for Rini.[3]

Sogavare's successor, Prime Minister Derek Sikua, almost immediately set out to mend relations with Australia upon assuming office in December 2007.[4]

Azerbaijan[edit]

In February 2011, the United Nations Permanent Mission of the Republic of mutual understanding, cooperation, and to strengthen the friendly relations between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Solomon Islands signed a joint communiqué on the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two. Communiqué on behalf of the government as well as the Permanent Representative of the United Nations, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Aqşin Mehtiev, on behalf of the Government of Solomon Islands Solomon Islands Permanent Representative of the United Nations, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Mr. Collin D. Signed back.

Republic of China (Taiwan)[edit]

Solomon Islands has had diplomatic relations with the Republic of China since 1983 and both maintain resident diplomatic missions in their respective capitals.

Cuba[edit]

In the late 2000s, the Solomon Islands began to strengthen their relations with Cuba.

In April 2007, the Solomon Star reported that Solomon Islands’ High Commissioner to the United Nations was soon to be sworn in as Ambassador to Cuba.[5] In September 2007, it was announced that 40 Cuban doctors would be sent to the Solomon Islands.[6] The Solomons’ Minister of Foreign Affairs Patterson Oti said that Solomon Islander doctors would "learn from their Cuban colleagues in specialized areas".[7] In addition to providing doctors, Cuba provided scholarships for 50 Solomon Islanders to study medicine in Cuba for free.[8]

In September 2008, Solomon Islands' foreign minister William Haomae attended the first Cuba-Pacific Islands ministerial meeting in Havana, aimed at "strengthening cooperation", notably in coping with the impact of climate change.[9]

Fiji[edit]

In August 2008, it was announced that Solomon Islands intended to open a High Commission in Suva,[10] and in December the government of Fiji announced that it had "formally endorsed the establishment of a Resident Diplomatic Mission in Suva by the Government of the Solomon Islands".[11] Fiji's High Commission to Papua New Guinea is accredited to Solomon Islands.

Malaysia[edit]

Malaysia has an honorary consul in Solomon Islands while Malaysia high commission in Port Moresby also accredited to the country,[12][13] and Solomon Islands has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur.[14][15][16]

Papua New Guinea[edit]

Relations with Papua New Guinea, which had become strained because of an influx of refugees from the Bougainville rebellion and attacks on the northern islands of the Solomon Islands by elements pursuing Bougainvillean rebels, have been repaired. A peace accord on Bougainville confirmed in 1998 has removed the armed threat, but refugee return has been slow.[citation needed]

Relations between the current governments of Prime Minister Derek Sikua (Solomon Islands) and Prime Minister Michael Somare (Papua New Guinea) are, at present, cordial.[17]

Switzerland[edit]

Solomon Islands and Switzerland established formal diplomatic relations on 20 December 2007, when representatives of both nations signed a joint communiqué in Canberra, Australia.[18] Beraki Jino, High Commissioner of Solomon Islands to Australia, and Christian Muhlethaler, Ambassador of Switzerland to Australia, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective governments.[18]

United Kingdom[edit]

Bilateral relations with the UK remain strong. The UK’s bilateral aid programme in Solomon Islands ended in early 2004 when the UK’s regional aid programme came to a close. However, UK funding through the EU, the largest multilateral donor to Solomon Islands, will continue. The UK contributes almost 15% of the EU development budget in the Solomon Islands. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office assistance to Solomon Islands is focussed on security sector reform, good governance, sustainable development and poverty alleviation. Among the activities supported in the last two years are: education on HIV/AIDS, rural clinics, collective farming and empowerment of women. Sir Nathaniel Waena, the Governor-General of Solomon Islands, visited the UK in 2006 to celebrate the Queen's 80th Birthday.

Venezuela[edit]

In October 2008, Solomons Prime Minister Derek Sikua moved to establish economic relations with Caracas, hoping to benefit from comparatively cheap Venezuelan oil. In a rare display of bipartisanship, Solomons Opposition leader Manasseh Sogavare praised his political rival for this move, stating that -in the context of the 2008 global financial crisis- it would bring down the price of oil for Solomon Islanders, and boost the economy if the Solomons imported crude Venezuelan oil, refined it and then exported it to neighbouring countries.[19]

Main Multilateral Involvement[edit]

Solomon Islands is a member of the United Nations, UNESCO, Commonwealth, South Pacific Commission, Pacific Islands Forum, International Monetary Fund, and the European Economic Community/African, Caribbean, Pacific Group (EEC/ACP)/(Lome Convention).

International organization participation[edit]

ACP, AsDB, ESCAP, FAO, Commonwealth of Nations, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), IOC, ITU, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, United Nations, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WTrO

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Rethink for Solomons diplomatic missions", ABC Radio Australia, 9 September 2008
  2. ^ ABC News Online: Howard stands by Solomons ambassador
  3. ^ BBC NEWS: Solomons PM criticises Australia
  4. ^ "Strained Relations on the Mend", Nina Tuhaika, Solomon Times, 23 January 2008
  5. ^ solomonstarnews.com
  6. ^ http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/news/stories/s2030359.htm
  7. ^ solomonstarnews.com
  8. ^ "Cuban-trained doctors sorely needed in Solomons". Radio New Zealand International. 28 February 2008. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  9. ^ "Cuba-Pacific ministerial meeting underway in Havana", ABC Radio Australia, 17 September 2008
  10. ^ "Solomons considers High Commission in Suva", Radio Australia, 14 August 2008
  11. ^ "Cabinet approves Establishment of a Resident Mission of the Solomon Islands in Suva", Fiji government website, 2 December 2008
  12. ^ Ibp Usa; USA International Business Publications (7 February 2007). Solomon Islands Foreign Policy and Government Guide. Int'l Business Publications. pp. 88–. ISBN 978-1-4330-4522-6. 
  13. ^ "New Malaysian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands". Solomon Times Online. 4 March 2010. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  14. ^ "PM Lilo Opens Malaysia Office". Solomon Times Online. 15 October 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  15. ^ George Herming (15 March 2013). "SOLOMON ISLANDS ESTABLISHES TWO NEW DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS OVERSEAS". Government of Solomon Islands. Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  16. ^ "SOLOMON ISLANDS HIGH COMMISSIONER TO MALAYSIA COMMISSIONED". Consulate Generals of Solomon Islands to Canada. 7 October 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  17. ^ "Sikua Government Values Diplomatic Relations", Joanna Sireheti, Solomon Times, 23 January 2008
  18. ^ a b "Solomon Islands Establish Diplomatic Relations with Switzerland". Solomon Times. 20 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  19. ^ "L’opposition fait l’éloge du gouvernement des Salomon", ABC Radio Australia, 14 October 2008

External links[edit]