Samoa welcomes first resident British High Commissioner
The Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleali’ifano Va'aletoa Sualauvi II, has welcomed the first resident High Commissioner for the United Kingdom in Samoa.
David Ward was welcomed during ceremony held was at the Head of State’s residence at Vailele on Tuesday, where he also presented his credentials.
“I also commend the contributions on our bilateral relation by Her Excellency Laura Clarke during her brief tenure as non-resident Head of Mission from Wellington,” his Highness Tuimaleali'ifano said.
He also acknowledged with sincere appreciation the immediate assistance by the U.K.
“With the deployment of a 13 member U.K. Medical Team to assist our emergency medical operations in response to the fatal measles epidemic that has claimed many young lives.
“The invaluable service of these British nationals as well as our other development partners has reassured the strength of the humanitarian spirit and goodwill of the international community and the closeness of our two countries relationship.
“Samoa reaffirms the importance of immediate global actions to ensuring the preservation and protection of our environment, fisheries, ocean and marine resources.”
Mr. Ward spoke about the growing relationship between his country and Samoa.
“We are both island countries with long traditions of seafaring,” said Mr. Ward.
“It was the ocean which first helped shape our modern relations, and which still today defines our shared interests.
“Some of the first British citizens to come to Samoa were the missionaries of the London Missionary Society in the nineteenth century, who arrived by sea. Famously, the writer Robert Louis Stevenson, several of whose novels were set around the sea, made Samoa his home.”
He added that the U.K. and Samoa have both worked together as supporters of the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance and the Commonwealth Blue Charter.
“These shared interests and activities extend also to managing the impact of climate change, on which Samoa has been a leading voice in the Pacific and around the world, and the United Kingdom became the first large economy to commit by law to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2050.
“Our nations also share traditions of governance, founded on beliefs in democracy and the rule of law, and a common legal tradition, which also find expression in our shared membership of the Commonwealth of Nations, which is dedicated to maintaining and strengthening those values.
“I look forward to working with the Government and people of Samoa on all these issues and more. I hope they will help me in learning about and understanding Samoa, and in turn ensuring that my own Government understands Samoa more deeply. I am grateful for the welcome which I have already been shown, and also for this historic opportunity to be the first resident British High Commissioner in Apia, Samoa, and the ‘sacred centre of the universe’.”
Samoa established diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom in September 1970, and both countries have maintained friendly relations through close collaboration on issues of mutual interest and concern at the United Nations.
Mr. Ward is currently the High Commissioner of the United Kingdom to Solomon Islands and nonresident High Commissioner to Vanuatu and Nauru since August 2016. He has also held other positions within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office such as Lashkar Gah, Deputy Head of Mission, Provincial Reconstruction Team from 2013-2014.
Prior to this post he was the Tripoli, Deputy Head of mission in 2011-2012. Mr. Ward also spent time in Asia with experience as Deputy Counsellor- Political, Beijing from 2006- 2009 and earlier on Kathmandu, Deputy Head from 2002-2005. Mr. Ward first joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1992.