PNG and Solomon Islands seal policing deal

Photo: Royal PNG Constabulary

Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands have signed an agreement to formalise the deployment of Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) members for policing duties there.

Foreign Affairs Minister Justin Tkatchenko and his Solomon Islands counterpart, Jeremiah Manele, signed the agreement in Port Moresby last Wednesday.

The agreement was formulated in accordance with the international obligations between parties regarding cooperation to secure human rights and ensure peaceful resolution of disputes as enshrined in the “Agreed Principles of Co-operation Among Independent States in Melanesia 1988” in light of the serious threat that the recent spate of violence in Honiara posed to civil peace, and law and order.

Tkatchenko said the signing of the bilateral policing agreement underscored the traditional partnership between both countries.

“We have on different occasions provided help for the police of the SI in their security issues over many years,” he said.

“Even now we have PNG police officers in Honiara, the Solomon Islands working with their counterparts in protecting their country.

“This agreement secures the police-to-police relationships, ensuring that our police can travel freely knowing that we have an agreement that will protect the Solomon Islands and PNG together.

“The Solomon Islands is a traditional partner to PNG through culture and tradition, they are our brothers and sisters, and we work together with them for the benefit of security in our region,” Tkatchenko added.

Solomon Islands foreign affairs and external trade minister Manele, while commending the Government, said they hoped to see a Melanesian security setup to respond to disasters as well as soft and hard threats impacting the sub-region.

A former graduate of the University of PNG, Manele said the signing marked another chapter to deepen and enhance the rich cooperation between the two disciplinary forces, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and the RPNGC.

“The Solomon Islands will always embrace the cooperation in the past and looks forward to more engagements with the PNG Government,” he said.

“Our bilateral relationship continues to be strong and it is significant and vibrant, given how close our shared history and traditional ties and our shared geographical boundaries.” Internal Security Minister Peter Tsiamalili Jr said the signing was a significant step forward and the Government could work in retrospect in putting framework and guidance to continue this work into the future.