Opposition slams PM’s undiplomatic $900m request

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Minister for Infrastructure Development Manasseh Maelanga.
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THE Parliamentary Opposition has called on the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade to ensure the Prime Minister is well versed with the diplomatic protocol of seeking financial assistance from donors.

The call came after Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela asked the Taiwanese Government to donate $900-million to the Solomon Islands Government towards preparation for the 2023 Pacific Games.

The request was included in the Prime Minister’s speech at a banquet hosted for him by the Taiwanese President Dr Tsai Ing-wen during his recent visit to Taipei.

The Prime Minister’s Press Secretariat issued a Media Release about the Prime Minister making the $900-million request in his speech at the banquet.

Leader of Opposition Manasseh Maelanga said the Prime Minister should have made the request during his dialogue with the President and not in his speech at the banquet.

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He said the action by the Prime Minister is a great diplomatic embarrassment for Solomon Islands and it begs the question whether he ever sought advice from his top officials who accompanied him on the trip before including the request in his speech.

Maelanga added that if it was the advice from the Prime Minister’s top officials that the request was included in his speech, then the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade should take necessary action to enlighten them and the Prime Minister himself about the diplomatic protocol of seeking financial assistance from donors.

The Opposition Leader said this will ensure that such act is not repeated in the future.

–OPPOSITION PRESS

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