Remarks With Governor General of the Solomon Islands Frank Kabui Before Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Honiara, Solomon Islands
August 13, 2014

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, we have great, great ties to the Solomon Islands, as you know. And for me, coming from Massachusetts, we have even greater ties to the Solomon Islands because just north of here is where President Kennedy served and was rescued by the help of Solomon Islandites. We are very, very tied to you in many, many ways, certainly from my part of the country. And we know how much your islands are currently both working on emerging from a period of difficulty, as well as confronting major challenges like climate change and fisheries and other things.

So we have things to talk about and I'm very appreciative that you sent some representatives to our oceans conference recently. We're very appreciative for that. And we have very high hopes that the election coming up will help to put the pieces together for the future, and I'd be interested in your sense of how you think that the lead-up to those elections is going.

But we're very grateful to you for your friendship. There is a storied history here -- Henderson Field and the 1st Marine Division, XIV Army Corps. We've been tied together ever since the days of the Scouts, the Coastwatchers. We're very sad that the last -- one of the Coastwatchers who was involved in rescuing President Kennedy died just a month ago, Eroni Kumana. And I would have loved to have been able to say hello to him.

But thank you for your friendship, and we look forward to working with you on some important issues together.

QUESTION: Secretary, can I ask one question, sir? President Obama has announced some additional forces for the planned humanitarians options. Is there anything the United States and the international community can do to get those poor civilians and displaced Yezidis off that mountain?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, that's exactly what we're assessing. This is precisely what the team that he sent in is prepared to do. We will make a very rapid and critical assessment, because we understand it's urgent to try and move those people off the mountain. And I hope we can have more to report in short order.