Solomon Islands to ban U.S. navy ships from ports – U.S. embassy

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Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare addresses the 76th session of the UN General Assembly remotely via pre-recorded video in New York City, US, Sept. 25, 2021. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/Pool

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SYDNEY, Aug. 30 (Reuters) – The government of the Solomon Islands has told the United States it will impose a moratorium on naval vessels entering its ports, the US embassy in Canberra said Tuesday.

The report follows an incident last Tuesday when a US Coast Guard vessel, the Oliver Henry, was unable to enter the Solomon Islands for a routine port call because the government failed to respond to a request for refueling and provisioning.

The Solomon Islands have had a tense relationship with the United States and its allies since signing a security pact with China earlier this year. read more

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

A spokesman for the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare, previously denied reports of a moratorium and told Reuters that Sogavare would make a speech on Tuesday afternoon.

Sogavare was due to deliver a speech to welcome a US Navy hospital ship, Mercy, which arrived in Honiara Monday for a two-week mission, he said.

The embassy said Mercy had arrived for the moratorium.

“The US naval vessel Mercy received diplomatic clearance before the moratorium was introduced. We will continue to monitor the situation closely,” the embassy said.

Last week, the US Coast Guard vessel Oliver Henry was on patrol for illegal fishing in the South Pacific for a regional fisheries agency when it was denied access to refuel in Honiara, the capital of the Solomons. read more

A spokesman for the US State Department said Monday that the “lack of diplomatic clearance for the Oliver Henry was regrettable,” and the United States was pleased that the Mercy had been granted permission.

The Mercy’s humanitarian mission, along with personnel from Australia and Japan, will include community outreach, engineering projects and disaster relief discussions.

Separately, John Kirby, the spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said it is regrettable that “we have seen the Chinese try to bully and coerce countries across the Indo-Pacific to obey their orders and serve. what they think are their selfish national security interests, rather than the wider interests of a free and open Indo-Pacific”.

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Reporting by Kirsty Needham in Sydney and Michael Martina in Washington; Editing by Himani Sarkar

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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