By Alfred Sasako
INDONESIA’S Ambassador to Solomon Islands, Adriana Supandy, has revealed his country wants an Umbrella Framework Cooperation Agreement with Solomon Islands, saying such an accord would open up boundless opportunities for both countries in many sectors.
Ambassador Supandy has been in Honiara for a week. He presented his credentials to the Governor General, David Vunagi at Government House last week.
He has raised the need for an umbrella agreement in discussions with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare when both men met last week. He returns to Port Moresby 2nd September.
Ambassador Supandy shared his views with a small gathering of Solomon Islanders at the Mendana Kitano Hotel on Sunday. These Solomon Islanders had been to Indonesia on short term training and media visits in recent time.
Former Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo, Solomon Islands’ first Prime Minister to visit Indonesia, attended the brief gathering.
The Ambassador said Indonesia and Solomon Islands are two island states which share a lot in common. They could use their commonalities to address issues and challenges they face.
These challenges could be addressed under a formal arrangement.
“This umbrella agreement is very important because it opens up different sectors for bilateral cooperation. Trade and investment, tourism, education and training are sectors that can be addressed under such an agreement.
“Climate change is another,” he said.
It is understood Indonesia provided the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Honiara a Draft on the proposed several years ago now.
“It is my hope this agreement can be signed soon because it is very important to both our countries,” he said.
Meanwhile Ambassador Supandy on Sunday visited the site for the multi-purpose sports complex being built at the King George VIth Field. Indonesia is funding the 4, 000-seat complex to be used for Futsol and basketball matches during the 2023 Games.
Former Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo urged Indonesia to stay focused on what it is doing, thanking Jakarta for supporting Solomon Islands on the United Nations resolution on French Polynesia.
“Everyone else walked away from us but Indonesia and Cuba supported us to register 163 votes. I won’t forget that,” former Prime Minister Darcy Lilo said.