MFAET to pursue clearance of UXO


MINISTRY of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET) and Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services, will continue to pursue the clearance of Unexplored Ordnances (UXO) with USA and Japan.

Minister of MFAET, Jeremiah Manele confirmed this during his contribution in the sine die motion in Parliament last week.

He said they will also seek their support to clear the oil spills from War War II sunken vessels.

Manele said formal outreach to Japan and USA to clear these leakages are being pursued and they will continue to follow up to ensure they clear their mess.

However, in good news, the US Embassy in Port Moresby released a stated-on December 21, 2022, the Department of State provided USD$1 million to The HALO Trust (HALO) to launch a comprehensive unexploded ordnance (UXO) project in Solomon Islands beginning January 1, 2023. 

This project will address UXO priorities and enhance explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) capacity with the Ministry of National Police and the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF). 

This project is part of President Biden’s announcement at the United States-Pacific Island Country Summit, where UXO priorities were one of nine U.S. commitments to implement the Declaration on US-Pacific Partnership.

The United States is a Pacific nation—geographically, economically, historically, and culturally—and remains invested in supporting a prosperous Pacific.

In Solomon Islands, the United States has provided more than $6.8 million since 2011 to establish a national capacity with the RSIPF to identify and destroy explosive remnants of war. 

This included training 13 engineers who have conducted more than 1,200 explosive ordnance callouts and destroyed more than 29,746 items of UXO. 

The United States’ work over the past decade to remediate explosive hazards is foundational for a prosperous Solomon Islands and continues to advance humanitarian and development priorities on land free of UXO.

HALO will advance shared United States-Solomon Islands priorities.  With funding from the United States, HALO will locate and mark World War II legacy UXO while providing essential training and capacity building to the RSIPF EOD unit.  This includes using existing data and historical records as well as conducting search activities to update the national UXO database, which will inform future explosive ordnance risk education and explosive hazard responses to UXO contamination by the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force EOD unit.  U.S. funding will also provide technical advice while assisting the Ministry of National Police to establish a UXO coordination office.

The United States, through its Conventional Weapons Destruction program, has funded work in the Pacific since 2009. 

Since 1993, the United States has invested more than $4.7 billion for the safe clearance of landmines and explosive weapons of war as well as the securing and safe disposal of excess small arms and light weapons and munitions in more than 100 countries and territories.  The United States is the world’s single largest financial supporter of conventional weapons destruction.

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