Sogavare describes Maritime Agreement as historic achievement.

Prime Minister Sogavare during the recent PIF meeting
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Suva, Fiji

PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare has described the Maritime Agreement between Solomon Islands and Fiji as a historical achievement.

In his speech during the signing of the agreement, Sogavare says the agreement displayed commitments of Fiji and Solomon Islands to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea which Fiji and Solomon Islands are both party to the convention.

He says the letter of Exchange complements efforts on preserving both countries maritime boundary while the region continues to work to conclude a uniquely binding biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction framework.

“Today (Monday), signing of Solomon Islands Fiji maritime boundary agreement is a celebration of the rolling out of the ocean chapter as we have on the 2050 strategies as we continue to invest in the sovereignty and sovereign rights of our people over maritime zones.

“It is indeed a momentous day for Solomon Islands as the region embrace our people’s connection to the ocean. As big ocean states, the blue pacific makes up a combined exclusive economic zone of more than 41 million square kilometres.

“I’m deeply appreciative of the fact that we have arrived at this historic moment, owing to the tremendous dedication and spirited efforts of our senior officials of both Fiji and Solomon Islands in ensuring that we finalize and conclude our shared maritime boundary.

“Equally important is the unwavering support and assistance of the South Pacific Commission and the consortium partners to the whole process,” Prime Minister Sogavare says.

He says Solomon Islands have five shared overlapping maritime boundaries with Pacific neighbours – This is includes; Australia, family Papua New Guinea, France, Vanuatu and now with Fiji.

Prime Minister Sogavare says the letters exchanged with Prime Minister of Fiji will ensure the agreement is consistent with the intention of all Pacific Island Forum members to maintain respective maritime zones in the face of climate change related sea level rise, which is set out in the Declaration on preserving maritime zones that was committed to in August last year.

He says Solomon Islands is committed to the agreement and will work alongside Fiji in making sure the treaty is ratified and enter into force in the near future.

Prime Minister Sogavare acknowledges Prime Minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama and the people of Fiji for the important achievement.

Prime Minister Bainimarama says the agreement is an important milestone to demarcate both countries reason for shared benefits going forward.

He says the agreement sets a foundation of the great blue Pacific wall to sustainably managed ocean space.

“Today (Tuesday) marks a promising step for a brighter and promising future for Fiji and the Solomon Islands.

“My friend, Hon Sogavare and I have signed maritime boundary delimitation agreement establishing our country’s respective maritime zone in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Convention of the law of the sea, mapping ocean boundaries is a determinative challenge for us, large ocean state in the Pacific implementing regional Ocean Solutions depends on such agreements.

“I am hopeful that the finalization of this agreement today will set the momentum for the finalisation of agreement with Tonga and the other level of many maritime boundary agreements in the region,” Bainimarama says.