PRIME Minister Hon Rick Houenipwela was the guest of honour during the Australia Day function held at the residence of the Australian High Commissioner last week.
In his opening remarks, the Prime Minister stated how grateful he is on behalf of the Government and people of Solomon Islands, to the government of Australia and her people for the long standing association and friendly relationship enjoyed between the two countries and their citizens.
Houenipwela further expressed his appreciation for the ongoing discussions and the continuous support as well as direct assistance to Solomon Islands in critical areas of health, education, infrastructure, energy, governance, electoral reform, and telecommunications.
The Prime Minister also acknowledged the strong and close bilateral relationship enjoyed by the two countries.
“Australia is also a major, active player through its development assistance and aid programs in the Oceania region which Solomon Islands also benefits from both,” he said.
“To this end, Your Excellency, Solomon Islands wishes to thank the Australian Government for the ongoing bilateral support and also looks forward to developing the regional framework to ensure that our part of the world is safe, secure and a place where people can enjoy their future.
“The former British Prime Minister Lord Hamilton once said that in international relations there are no permanent friends but permanent interests.
“However, in the case of the special relationship between Australia and Solomon Islands, I would rather describe it as exemplified by the saying, ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed’.”
“Solomon Islands will not forget,” he said.
The Prime Minister further acknowledged Australia’s many triumphs and achievements over the years in socio-economic, political and sporting spheres, extending best wishes, success and further prosperity in the years ahead.
“We will continue to stand by you as we continue our journey together for the betterment of all our peoples,” he said.