Solomon Islands
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Sogavare Thanks Australia for Support Towards 2023 Pacific Games

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has thanked Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese for a donation to support the staging of the Pacific Games.

The two leaders met in Australia for talks, with the 2023 Pacific Games and related delay of the county's general election among the topics of discussion.

Australia's Government in August donated AUD$17 million to support the Pacific Games - an event never before held on the Solomon Islands.

"Australia is currently Solomon Islands largest bilateral partner with an investment of almost SBD$1 billion annually and Australia is Solomon Islands' partner of choice in its development journey," Sogavare said, per a Government readout.

"Solomon Islands values the immense contribution by Australia to the development of Solomon Islands."

Australia has also offered financial assistance concerning the next general election, which has been delayed until 2024.

Sogavare has argued that the country does not have the resources to stage both the Pacific Games and a general election in the same year, so has had his term extended beyond the constitutional limit of four years.

Relations with China - another country providing significant financial support towards the Pacific Games - likely also factored into the discussions and Sogavare ruled out having a foreign military base on Solomon Islands territory.

"Solomon Islands will not do anything that will undermine its own national security and jeopardise the security of any or all [Pacific Islands] Forum countries," Sogavare said.

"Solomon Islands will never be used for foreign military installations or institutions of foreign countries.

"It is my Government’s legacy to safeguard the future of Solomon Islands and its people, not to endanger the country and its citizens or the security of any Forum country."

Solomon Islands capital Honiara is due to stage the Pacific Games from November 19 to December 2 next year, following a four-month delay blamed on COVID-19.

A programme of 23 sports, including three rugby codes, is set to be contested.

Source: https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1129004/pacific-games-australia-solomon-meeting