Solomon Islands foreign navy ban applies to ‘all countries’
HONIARA, Solomon Islands — A snap ban on foreign military vessels docking in Solomon Islands applies to “all countries in the world,” a spokesman for the Pacific nation’s prime minister told AFP Wednesday.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare revealed the ban on Tuesday after news broke that a United States Coast Guard ship was not allowed to refuel at the country’s port.
A spokesman for the prime minister told AFP the moratorium “includes all countries in the world”.
“No preference to any specific country,” he said.
The spokesman added there was “no specific timeframe” for a review of a naval approval process that was also announced Tuesday.
The moratorium will be closely watched in the region, given Solomon Islands’ growing closeness with Beijing. The two countries signed a contentious security pact in April.
The naval ban comes a week after Sogavare’s office threatened to ban or deport Western reporters for “disrespectful and demeaning” coverage and said some foreign media were trying to “engineer regime change”.
Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles would not be drawn on the moratorium during media interviews Wednesday, saying only that it was “a matter for Solomon Islands.”
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