No military base to be set up here: PM

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
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SOLOMON Islands has no intention of pitching into any geopolitical power struggles.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare revealed this in Parliament yesterday after overseas media claimed the security agreement Solomon Islands will sign with China indicates the potential to establish a military base.

However, Sogavare said the Solomon Islands National Security strategy allows Solomon Islands to seek partnerships with friendly foreign governments.

He said it is part of the vision of the National Security Strategy especially in maintaining our security needs.

“That strategy underwent deep nationwide consultations with our provinces and national stakeholders. The strategy is available online as well,” Sogavare said.

“There is no secret about the visions, purpose and goals of our national security strategy.

“It seeks nothing but peace, secure and prosperous Solomon Islands,” he added.

Sogavare said the strategy is the blue print for Solomon Islands to protect the country’s sovereignty, our people and combating and addressing soft and hard threats including climate change.

He said as a sovereign country the government will continue to collaborate and ensure what Solomon Islands needs in its security space is correctly addressed with their development partners.

“This means working with all partners and I mean all partners who are willing to support us in the spirit of diplomacy and being friends to all.

“In other words, as a responsible government and as a sovereign state, we must never leave any soft or hard threats in our country to change,” he added.

Sogavare said the security challenge facing the country is so great that there is sufficient space for everyone

“For example, the Fijians with Solomon Islands during the ethnic conflict under the Commonwealth arrangement later with RAMSI and now with SIAF.

“Our Papua New Guinea close wantoks have followed our journey and expressed solidarity in sending over forces to Solomon Islands under PNG bilateral agreement,” he said.

Sogavare said New Zealand and Australia following the conclusion of RAMSI continue to have security programmes and presence of the Australia Federal Police and NZ Police personnel.

He said the security framework focuses and is meant to address Solomon Islands’ national security threats

“We don’t belong to any external alliances nor do we to pick sides.

“The only side we will pick is a national security interest,” he added.

“We are mandated and guarantee peace and work to achieve a safe and secure nation where all citizens are able to coexist peacefully.

“We are duty bound to do that and stand ready to do that,” he added.