Solomon Islands to ban all foreign ships from ports pending new approval process

“We have asked our partners to give us time to review and implement our new processes before sending further requests to bring warships into the country,” Prime Minister Manesh Sogawara said in a statement.

“They will apply to all naval vessels,” he said in a statement his office emailed to Reuters.

Sogaware added that he would like to build national capacity to protect the exclusive economic zones of the Pacific island nation.

In a speech Tuesday afternoon to welcome the US Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy, Sogaware said last week’s delay about Oliver Henry was due to information not being sent to his office in time.

He also confirmed the delay in clearing entry to the British naval ship HMS Spey, which had also canceled its scheduled port call, the statement said.

As a result of these two incidents, Solomon Islands is reviewing its approval procedures, he said.

Earlier, the US embassy in Canberra, the capital of Australia, said that the Solomon Islands had notified it of a moratorium on the entry of warships into their ports.

“On August 29, the United States received formal notice from the Solomon Islands government of a moratorium on all naval visits pending updates to protocol procedures,” the embassy said in a statement.

“Mercy” arrived before the moratorium, the embassy said, adding that they were monitoring the situation.

The Solomon Islands has a tense relationship with the US and its allies following this year’s security pact with China.

The Oliver Henry was patrolling illegal fishing in the South Pacific for the regional fisheries agency as it attempted to enter for refueling in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands.

On Monday, a US State Department spokesman described the lack of permission to use the Oliver Henry as “regrettable,” saying the US is pleased that the Mercy has received permission.

Separately, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby deplored that “we have seen the Chinese try to intimidate and coerce countries in the Indo-Pacific region to do their bidding and serve what they think is their selfish national security interests.” “. not the broader interests of a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *