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EDITO
Saturday, 18 November 2017

The new Czech Republic’s non-resident Ambassador to Solomon Islands, His Excellency Martin Pohl says he is keen to broaden ties with Solomon Islands when he met Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on Tuesday 21st February. At a brief courtesy meeting with the Prime Minister, Ambassador Pohl said he is prepared to explore areas that the two countries can cooperate on to enhance the deepen the existing relations. Ambassador Pohl singled out cooperation in education and health as immediate priority areas that the two Governments’ can further explore in the current relations. “My government is ready to take on what is necessary to ensure our cooperation is deepened,” he said.

The European Union achieved record food exports in 2016, with the USA and China being its main markets. Food imports, however, slumped in the period, contributing significantly to the bloc's growing trade surplus.The European Union's 28 countries produce a lot of food - so much so that the region exports more food than it imports, as measured by financial value. The European Commission (EC) reported on Thursday that the EU achieved a new all-time record of 130.7 billion euros ($138.4 billion) in 'agri-food exports' in 2016. That's 1.7 billion euros, or 1.3 percent, above the 2015 number - and 29.4 billion euros, or 29 percent, above the 2011 number.

Some senior ministers reportedly want to divert aid from “wasteful” projects in Africa and Asia to allies in eastern Europe in a bid to get a better Brexit deal. Downing Street officials and senior cabinet ministers believe part of the Government’s £12bn aid budget should be used to win support for a favourable deal from Brussels. According to The Sunday Times, the proposed plan would see aid money being diverted from projects described as “questionable” in developing countries in Asia and Africa to Poland, Hungary and the Baltic states, which so far have been allies of the UK. The manoeuvre is reportedly designed to persuade eastern European countries to back the demands of the UK, when negotiating its exit from the EU.

Tanzania wants a study conducted on the impact of the Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union on the East African Community, ahead of the Summit of Heads of State scheduled for next month. The demand reiterates Tanzania's position that Kenya and Rwanda should not have signed the EPA last year and, given the inadequate time before the summit, there won't be much progress on the matter before April 1, when the EU expects the EAC to sign up to the accord.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders met on Tuesday 21 February with his new Ethiopian colleague Workeneh Gebeyehu. The ministers discussed the bilateral relations between the two countries, that are particularly intense in the fields of commerce, tourism, university and multilateral cooperation. After the recent incidents in Ethiopia, the importance of peace and political dialogue was reiterated, in particular with a view to ensuring the stability of investments. The two Ministers also talked about the regional situation in the Horn of Africa and in Central Africa.