18 Jun 2010

Solomon Island to attend Pacific-Arab summit

8:39 am on 18 June 2010

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Derek Sikua is to attend the Pacific-Arab Summit in Abu Dhabi later this month.

The Prime Minister's delegation which will leave Honiara tomorrow will include the Foreign Minister and senior civil servants.

Thje SIBC reports a statement from the Prime Minister's Officer says the Summit is the initiative of the government of the United Arab Emirates after the first ever visit to the Pacific region in February by his UAE's Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The Solomon Islands' government and the Government of United Arab Emirates are jointly sponsoring the trip.

But the the Malaita Maasina Forum has expressed concerns that the trip could jeopardise the assistance which Malaita Province has sought from Israel.

General Secretary of the Forum William Gua says Solomon Islands established relations with Israel in 1989, but it made diplomatic ties with U-A-E only a month ago.

He says he believes United Arab Emirates had promised a 400 million U-S dollars assistance to Pacific island countries based on an agreement signed in New York.