New border treaty signed with Solomon Islands; PM thanks NZ for post-Cyclone Pam assistance

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President Baldwin Lonsdale, Vanuatu PM Charlot Salwai and Solomon Islands PM Manasseh Sogavare are travelling to the Banks Islands today to sign the historical new border treaty with Solomon Islands. The leaders will participate in a cultural festival at Motalava until late today, and Vetande Island is being declared a cultural marine park. Negotiations between the two countries for a border agreement began in 1983 and are being completed according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. It is the first such agreement for Vanuatu and similar future boundary decisions are expected to clearly define the EEZs of New Caledonia and Fiji.

Prime Minister Salwai acknowledged the big contribution of the New Zealand government to the tourism sector when he welcomed the Pacific business community of New Zealand last week. A group of businessmen and women was making a brief visit. The PM highlighted NZ’s assistance in helping Vanuatu recover from Cyclone Pam in his address. Vanuatu is hoping to extend the terms of the restoration and recovery campaign, PM Salwai said. The return of Air New Zealand tourists is eagerly awaited. (Radio Vanuatu)

An elevator cable snapping on a Air Vanuatu Twin Otter aircraft on landing at Walaha at the weekend caused no permanent damage or injury, Daily Post reports today. The Acting Director of Civil Aviation and the airline CEO have both indicated learning of the problem soon after it occurred.

President Lonsdale called for a minute’s silence in remembrance of the original signatories to the Vanuatu Constitution at the anniversary of the signing ceremony yesterday. Some 19 who have passed on were announced by name in the annual commemoration. The President paid tribute to the pioneers of Independence still serving the nation.