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PNG PM O’Neill welcomes Sogavare’s re-election

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill yesterday welcomed the election of Manasseh Sogavare as the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands.

He extended an invitation to Mr Sogavare to visit Papua New Guinea "at his earliest convenience".

Mr Sogavare was born in Northern Province and grew up in Madang Province to missionary parents and still has family members living in PNG, having recently visited them in August.

"I look forward to working with Prime Minister Sogavare and welcome his re-election by the Solomon Islands Parliament," Mr O’Neill said in a statement.

"Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea have a strong friendship and are working to increase cultural exchange and trade and investment between our countries.

"There are many areas in which our two Governments can increase cooperation in areas that include fisheries, agricultural production and education.

"In particularly, I would like to see more students from the Solomon Islands given the opportunity to study at universities and technical schools in Papua New Guinea. This not only shares education and skills, but also increases social engagement between our people and establishes life-long friendships."

Mr O’Neill said PNG looks forward to working with the new government on a range of sustainable development issues that would benefit all.

Mr O’Neill said deepening regional integration was creating new opportunities for people around the Pacific, and it was important that both countries continue to make a positive contribution to this process.

"The Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea are members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group and the Pacific Islands’ Forum.

"These are two very important multilateral engagement processes in which the Solomon Islands has made an ongoing significant contributions." PM O’Neill noted.
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