Solomon Island's Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare (C) expects the snap ban on foreign naval vessels to be lifted soon

The Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands announced the imminent lifting of the ban on the use of ships of the Navy of foreign states

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogaware (center) expects drastic ban on foreign naval vessels to be lifted soon – Copyright AFP/File William WEST

The sudden ban on foreign warships mooring in the Solomon Islands could be lifted, the leader of the Pacific nation told Parliament on Monday.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogaware said the impromptu ban was “going very well.” We do not expect the temporary moratorium to last for long.”

Two weeks ago, the US Coast Guard ship Oliver Henry decided to leave Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, after a long delay in requesting a berth.

HMS Spey, a British naval patrol ship, also left the waters of the Solomon Islands before receiving a late response to its docking request.

Sogaware’s office then confirmed the sudden ban on warships from “all countries” while the navy’s approval processes were overhauled.

Asked Monday about the Oliver Henry incident, Sogaware said he was not denied permission, but instead chose to leave “our waters before he was informed of the approval” and dock.

He said the “temporary” ban was due to the Pacific nation facing a “sudden increase” in requests to visit warships.

“In many cases, service requests are submitted on a short notice and it is expected that all requests will always be approved,” Sogaware added.

“Each request requires a proper assessment, including benefits and risks for Solomon Islands.”

He told Parliament that the check was almost complete.

Sogaware has deepened his South Pacific country’s ties with China and faced street protests over his decision to shift diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.

After the riots in Honiara and demands for his resignation last year, his government signed a secret defense pact with Beijing that, according to a leaked draft, allows it to call in Chinese security forces to quell the unrest.

Last month, Sogaware’s office accused Western media in the Solomon Islands of “spreading anti-Chinese sentiment.”

A statement released by the office threatened to ban or deport reporters for “disrespectful and degrading” coverage, and said some foreign media outlets tried to “instigate regime change.”

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