The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Collin Beck paid a courtesy call on the Premier of Temotu Province, Hon. Clay Forau on Tuesday at the Provincial Capital, Lata.
Permanent Secretary Beck and Senior Government Officials were in Lata on their way back from the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu Joint- Maritime Border discussions on Motalava Island in Vanuatu.
Permanent Secretary Beck said the delegation to Vanuatu was honoured to have representatives from the Temotu Provincial Government who participated in discussions with their colleague Provincial representatives from Torba Province in Vanuatu, namely the Minister for Finance, Hon. Edward Daiwo and Minister for Youth, Women and Sports, Hon. John Mark.
He informed the Premier that the Senior Officials Meeting is the first to be conducted after the official boundary was agreed upon under the Motalava Treaty which was signed in 2016.
A draft comprehensive Border Arrangement Agreement discussed is expected to be concluded by July 2023.
The agreement gives guidelines on procedures to effectively allow trade, people to people movement, cooperation between the difference border agencies in the two countries.
Permanent Secretary Beck also informed Premier Forau that delegates have agreed that the next Solomon Islands and Vanuatu Senior Officials Meeting will be hosted in Temotu Province.
Mr Beck said it is an honour to work with the Province of Temotu to advance this border arrangement.
Premier of Temotu Province, Hon. Clay Forau in response thanked the Solomon Islands delegation for pushing ahead with establishing closer links with Vanuatu as it has been the wish of the people of the Province.
He said to have the agreement signed will be a message to the world that there is a border on the Eastern part of Solomon Islands that is manned and where entry must be properly checked by the relevant agencies.
He said the Province is placing hope on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Affairs to lead negotiations to have the border arrangement signed this year.
He confirmed that Temotu Province is happy to play host to the next Solomon Islands, Vanuatu in July this year and will make preparations once a date is confirmed.
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