Fiji-NZ diplomatic relations escalates to greater heights

The Honorable Acting Prime Minister and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed- Khaiyum and the Minister for Defence National Security and Foreign Affairs Hon Inia Seruiratu during the welcoming reception. Picture: SUPPLIED

DIPLOMATIC relation between Fiji and New Zealand has escalated to greater heights this week as New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters, made a bilateral visit to Fiji.

Fiji and New Zealand have pledged their commitment to strengthen collaboration on development issues that matter to both the nations as neighbours in a shared region.

This was highlighted earlier this week at the welcoming reception hosted by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Inia Seruiratu in honour of Mr Peters’ official visit to Fiji.

Speaking at the event, Mr Seruiratu said the visit would enhance the Fiji-NZ cooperation at all levels, particularly in terms of trade, investment and people to people ties.

He described the visit by Mr Peters as being timely, given Fiji’s strong leadership in championing the human rights and climate changes issues at the international stage, which had dramatically increased Fiji’s engagement with the development partners around the world.

“NZ’s Pacific reset could not have come at a better time, and Fiji welcomes the opportunity to deepen the partnership shared between our countries. This visit will prove to be a major step forward in enhancing partnership at the diplomatic level,” Mr Seruiratu said.

“We share enduring friendship, one that is rooted in the strength of the people to people ties, which connects us and supported by trade and investment.”

In his remarks, Mr Peters reaffirmed New Zealand’s commitment to work together with Fiji to pursue common goals of prosperity and sustainable development.

He also pointed out the importance of the Pacific Reset Program and pledged New Zealand’s support for Fiji’s leadership in championing climate change.

“Almost a year ago, I gave an address to the Lowy Institute in Australia called ‘Shifting the Dial’, in which I outlined the new principles and re-energised approach that New Zealand would take to working with and in the Pacific and the governments. This has become more commonly known as the “Pacific Reset”. In the Reset, we promised more resources, and we will deliver $714m over the next four years. The government has promised support to tackle priority issues in the Pacific, especially climate change,” Mr Peters said.

“We have already supported Fiji’s COP23 Presidency, and have announced a further $1.5 million to support the establishment of the Pacific regional NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions) hub in Suva. There is a lot more to come, and we are interested in partnering with Fiji on innovative climate change policy and other new initiatives.

“In order to help deliver on these commitments, we are strengthening our High Commission in Suva. We are establishing two new positions, a new Counsellor role dedicated to the Fiji relationship, and a new First or Second Secretary role to strengthen our engagement with regional and multilateral organisations.”

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