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PM Sikua Welcomes Extra Australian Assistance

PM Sikua Welcomes Extra Australian Assistance To Solomon Islands

Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua welcomed Australia's additional assistance of $14.5 million to the Solomon Islands government in its rehabilitation and rural development priorities.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced the assistance package in a joint media conference by the two leaders on Saturday.

Mr Rudd's one day visit to Honiara was part of his two nation tour of Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

"I welcomed the announcement of $14.5 million additional funding as well as Australia's commitment to work closely with the region, especially, Solomon Islands," Prime Minister Sikua said.

The two leaders also confirmed their shared commitment to work in partnership, both bilaterally and through the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, (RAMSI), to deliver better outcomes for the people of Solomon Islands.

Mr Rudd said Australia will provide an extra three million dollars for rehabilitation and maintenance of rural roads.

The Coalition for National Unity and Rural Advancement (CNURA) government under the leadership of Prime Minister Sikua highly prioritize rural infrastructure development across the nation.

Australia will also provide $1.5 million for the construction of shelters in communities affected by the April 2007 earthquake and tsunami.

Mr Rudd said this will be followed by up to $10 million in additional assistance in 2008-2009 to support work in priority areas, including infrastructure development, health, technical education and reforestation.

Dr Sikua also thanked the Australian government for granting the fifth freedom rights to Solomon Airlines.

The last Australian government refused to grant Fifth Freedom Rights for Solomon Islands to operate direct services from Brisbane to Santo in Vanuatu resulting in the cancellation of the arrangement last year.

Mr Rudd left Honiara on his way back to Australia Saturday afternoon.


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