25 Apr 2007

Solomon Islands says whaling not a factor in establishing links with Iceland

1:40 pm on 25 April 2007

The Solomon Islands government says the whaling issue was not a factor in it establishing links with Iceland last week.

The two countries' ambassadors to the United Nations exchanged notes in New York and Iceland is expected to provide training and expertise to the fishing and geothermal power generation sectors in Solomon Islands.

Iceland, along with Japan and Norway, is leading the call for a return to commercial whaling, but the Solomons' permanent secretary of foreign affairs, Jeremiah Magele, says this had no bearing on bringing the two nations closer together.

"The main factor as I said is that we are pursuing or expanding our links, our relations with countries in which we feel there are areas of co-operation that both countries can look at and Iceland is clearly one of them in terms of fisheries and of course energy. The whaling issue is a non issue as far as the establishment of relations with Iceland is concerned."

Last year Solomon Islands upset some of its key aid donors by siding with Japan's push for a resumption of commmercial whaling.