Star news ‘misleading’, claims Foreign Affairs

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THE Solomon Star news item on 14 May claiming that “no formal agreement between the US and Solomon Islands Governments is required for the SCALE program” is grossly misleading.

A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade over the weekend rejected the news item, describing it as “ambiguous”.

The statement said Solomon Islands remain under a State of Public Emergency and has put in place specific requirements for all foreign partner nationals to satisfy before entering the country.

“The entry requirements include valid work permit and appropriate visas and mandatory pre-departure COVID-19 tests and specified health and quarantine requirements,” the statement said.

“The details are set out in the Travel Advisory 17 and 18 issued in March and April respectively by the Chair of the Oversight Committee,” it added.

“Solomon Islands welcome United States engagement in the country and look forward to supporting the SCALE program, the MCC Threshold Programme, and the re-establishment of the Peace Corp Volunteer Programme.

“The agreements and arrangements for the programmes are currently under discussion by officials of both countries and are expected to be completed soon.

“A general bilateral development framework between the two states is being proposed by Solomon Islands.

“Solomon Islands would like to see the bilateral relationship with the United States grow and build on cooperation and where respective laws of the both states are followed.

“Furthermore, Solomon Islands want to see the development assistance provided by the United States contribute to the social and economic development of the country.”