15 Jun 2005

Solomons and Japan discuss infrastructure issues

1:40 pm on 15 June 2005

New infrastructure projects that Japan may wish to fund are expected to be a key discussion topic in the first bilateral talks between Japan and Solomon Islands, under way today.

The Solomons' Government has thanked Japan for sending a delegation from its Economic Cooperation Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Agency to the one-day talks in Honiara.

Johnson Honimae, of the Solomons' Government Communications Unit, says the talks will begin with a look at current assistance by Japan -- the Solomons' top cash donor.

He says they are also expected to consider possible future infrastructure projects.

"They're targetting areas like Auki. Auki doesn't have a big market facility but there's a lot of produce that comes through Auki. It's the second biggest provincial town I suppose. And there's a need for those type of facilities to encourage farmers in and around the area."

Mr Honimae says the talks have been planned for some time and are part of a series with donor countries.

He says there's no link between the talks and the Solomons' decision to abstain from voting later this month on whether a 20-year commercial whaling moratorium should be lifted.