BY MAVIS N PODOKOLO
US visas will still be managed by the embassy in Port Moresby, PNG.
The newly reopened United States embassy in Solomon Islands confirmed this yesterday.
This was echoed by Russell Comeau, chargé d’affaires ad interim, United States Embassy Solomon Islands.
“The US Visa will still be managed at Port Moresby, PNG.
“Unfortunately, US visas request here is quite low so it is difficult to have that justification.
“Perhaps if we have more interests in Visa to US we can get an officer here.
“But we have a great team in Port Moresby, they are very responsive, we get visas very quickly.”
On the same note Taylor Ruggles, Director EAP/ANP, United States Department of State says “We have discussed how we can better serve Solomon Islands and other Pacific Island countries that do have visa issue.
“This is an interim presence, it will too early to speculate what our long term looks like in terms of facility but as we go along we having discussions with colleagues on how we can incorporate our services. So, stay tuned,” Ruggles said.
The only Solomon Islands government official to attend the low-key reopening of the US embassy was Collin Beck, permanent secretary to the ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAET).
Mr Beck said the opening of the US embassy in the Solomons is a new era in terms of new relations and beginnings.
“Despite not having their presence on the country we still have the relationship through Moresby. Now they are in town we are basically have the opportunity to explore more opportunity on a daily basis in terms of looking at all issues.
“So we will be talking each other, we will be listening to each other and we will be working with each other going forward,” Beck said.