Forty four gun salute ends the 3rd SIDS conference

A special moment as 3rd SIDS conference came to a close with the flags were lowered and handed back to the UN and the Samoan government

By Tulifau Auvaa

APIA: FRIDAY 05 SEPTEMBER 2014: The United Nation and the Samoan flags were slowly lowered to a 44 gun salute signaling the end of the 3rd Small islands Sates (SIDS) conference at Tuana’imato complex yesterday.

21 of the gun salute came from the mortar guns while the rest were from the rifles of the police honoured guards.

It was an emotional moment for Samoa as they proudly witnessed the lowering of the country’s flag next to the UN flag to signal the return of the conference venue and facilities back to Samoa.

In a distance, many of the Samoans who worked in various areas of the conference stood in pride as the conference had gone so well and so well supported from every section of the Samoan community.

For the delegates, it was the end of a successful conference cemented by the adoption of the outcomes that have used the country’s name and call it the S.A.M.O.A Pathway which was fully endorsed by member countries.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi who acted as the conference President made a final statement to acknowledge the UN for trusting Samoa as a host country.

“We gathered here at the same spot where the children of Samoa welcomed the world to attend the 3rd Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) conference,” said Tuilaepa.

“This is a bitter sweet moment… our work is finished and we have learnt many lessons,” said UN Secretary-General for the conference Mr. WU Hongbo, who received the UN Flag as Tuilaepa received the Samoan flag.

“The world knows Samoa well now and for me, this is the moment for celebration for the great job we have achieved together,” said Mr. Wu.

“What SIDS has achieved marks a new chapter for our shared journey,” said Mr. Wu.

“This ceremony completes the final night of the partnership arrangement between the UN and Samoa for hosting the SIDS Conference,” he said.

“My country has given all with the support from the International community and in particular the UN Secretary-General,” said Tuilaepa.

Five days ago Samoa entrusted Tuana’imato to the UN.

“I express our appreciation and thank you to the UN for looking after the delegates and the venue,” said Tuilaepa.

The Samoan flag was handed over to Mr. Wu while the UN flag was handed to Tuilaepa after they were lowered.

Both leaders then approached each other and exchanged flags.

While Mr. Wu held the UN flag in both hands and lifted it high, Tuilaepa, holding the flag in one, raised both hands in a sign of victory.

The ceremony ended with a reception attended by delegates and everyone who were involved with the conference.

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