MEDIA STATEMENT: Statement on Solomon Islands

I travelled to Honiara from 12-13 April to discuss Australia’s enduring relationship with Solomon Islands.

For many years, Australia has stood strongly as a partner and a friend of Solomon Islands. Australia has worked with our Pacific family to support Solomon Islands, including as part of the Solomons International Assistance Force (SIAF), and earlier through the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

Australia’s development cooperation program with Solomon Islands remains one of our strongest such partnerships, with funding of over $160 million this financial year.

My discussions in Honiara have included the proposed Solomon Islands-China security agreement.

Solomon Islands is a valued member of our Pacific family, and Australia respects Solomon Islands right to make sovereign decisions about its national security.

Australia will always support our Pacific family. Our view remains firmly that the Pacific family will always meet the security needs of our region.

We are proud that SIAF responded swiftly and effectively to restore calm in Honiara following civil unrest in November 2021, at Solomon Islands’ request, and under the direction of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force.

While here I was pleased to meet police and defence personnel from Australia, Fiji and New Zealand, deployed to Solomon Islands under SIAF. Their presence reflects both the deep capacity and willingness of the Pacific family to respond to Solomon Islands security needs.

I met today with Prime Minister Sogavare, the Deputy Prime Minister and a number of other ministers.

We have asked Solomon Islands respectfully to consider not signing the agreement and to consult the Pacific family in the spirit of regional openness and transparency, consistent with our region’s security frameworks. 

We welcome recent statements from Prime Minister Sogavare that Australia remains Solomon Islands security partner of choice, and his commitment that Solomon Islands will never be used for military bases or other military institutions of foreign powers.

We look forward to ongoing engagement with the Solomon Islands Government, and with our Pacific family members, on these very important issues.

Australia’s commitment to working with Solomon Islands on its security needs is to do so swiftly, transparently and with full respect for its sovereignty.

Australia will continue supporting peace, prosperity, stability and our shared democratic values in Solomon Islands and across the region.

I wish you all a blessed Easter.

[ENDS] 

Senator the Hon Zed Seselja 
Minister for International Development and the Pacific