Britain's "Pacific Uplift" begins with Apia presence

By Sapeer Mayron 05 November 2019, 12:30PM

A new British High Commissioner, David Ward, will take up residence in Apia when the country's first permanent diplomatic mission is opened in December.

Mr. Ward will move to Apia from a posting from the Solomon Islands, where he has been the British High Commissioner since 2016, as well as non-resident High Commissioner to Vanuatu and Nauru. 

He has previously worked in: Eritrea, Afghanistan, Lebanon, China, Nepal and Japan. He began his career with Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (F.C.O) in 1992.

As the resident High Commissioner, Mr. Ward will replace Laura Clarke, who has been the non-resident High Commissioner, based in Wellington.

Samoa’s new mission is part of the United Kingdom’s "Pacific Uplift" foreign policy, designed under former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Mr. Johnson is the U.K.'s current Prime Minister and presently engaged to extricate the country from European Union under "Brexit" negotiations.

“As a Commonwealth family of nations, it is in our shared interest to boost prosperity, tackle security issues and clear up the environment,” he said in April 2018. 

As well as Samoa, the new British push in the Pacific will see new posts established in Vanuatu and Tonga. The U.K is also building in six other Commonwealth countries as the nation prepares to leave the European Union. 

Karen Bell, who joined the F.C.O in 1983, will become the new High Commissioner to Vanuatu in December; the new High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, Dr. Brian, Jones will continue to represent British interests in Nauru.

On a recent visit to Samoa, Ms. Clarke said she is excited about the growing relationship between the U.K. and Samoa.

"It feels like a very exciting time in the U.K. and Samoa relations, it really does. There is a huge amount that we can do together and there is that natural affinity between U.K. and Samoa,” she said.

By Sapeer Mayron 05 November 2019, 12:30PM
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