US re-opens embassy in Honiara in low-key
BY MAVIS N PODOKOLO
UNITED States of America (USA) officially opened its embassy in Solomon Islands yesterday in Honiara.
The low-key event was attended by the Solomon Islands foreign affairs permanent secretary, Collin Beck.
Thirty years after it closed its embassy in Honiara on July 30, 1993, the US is reopening its doors in a small building shared with other offices at the Commonwealth Street, along the road leading to the wharf.
In reopening the embassy USA is hoping to broaden opportunities to engage with Solomon Islands, says Mr Russell Comeau, chargé d’affaires ad interim United States Embassy Solomon Islands, speaking at the reopening press conference.
“This embassy we hope to and expect to broaden the opportunities to engage with Solomon Islands, to increase access.
“Becoming an embassy is really the first step as we moving toward establishing more permanent facilities and deploying diplomatic personnel.
“We hope to get a bigger team out here in the Solomons deliver the initiatives we are working in partnership with around the region,” Comeau said.
He said the US embassy in Solomon Islands will serve in key platforms from which US government will continue to develop its partnership in the Pacific based on shared values, democracy, human rights and the rule of laws.
United States Secretary of State Antony J Blinken says, “Am grateful for our partnership in Honiara and across Solomon islands.US and Solomon Islands will work together tackle issues in the Pacific community.”
Taylor Ruggles, Director EAP/ANP, United States Department of State adds they have seen over time that having no presence on the ground makes communication very difficult
“When we are not present on the ground, communication becomes difficult its harder for us to understand the priorities of the Solomon Islands Government to maintain the contact with the People.
“In order for us to communicate our policies and messages to the people and the government of Solomon Islands the Biden administration has prioritise re-establishing the embassy here in the Solomon Islands,” Ruggles said.
Colin Beck, permanent secretary to the Solomon Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade congratulates United States on the technical opening of the US Embassy in Solomon Islands on behalf of the government.
“The reopening of this mission is welcomed by the Government and people of Solomon Islands,” Beck said.
He said the Embassy in Honiara is the 164th US diplomatic mission in a foreign country.
“The reopening of this mission is welcomed by the government and people of Solomon Islands. It is a manifestation of the rich historical ties we share, the ongoing friendly relations between our two countries, and ushers renewed ambitions to deepen our bilateral partnership.
“But most importantly, the establishment of the Embassy shows the people of Solomon Islands that US is here, and will be for the long haul,” Beck said.