Strengthening ties: Fiji-New Zealand to build support on peacekeeping, border control

New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters with the Minister for Defence, National Security and Foreign Affairs, Inia Seruiratu. Picture: SUPPLIED

FIJI and New Zealand are committed to strengthening bilateral relations in the area of defence, particularly on peacekeeping and border security.

In a joint statement released yesterday, Fiji’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Inia Seruiratu and New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Winston Peters highlighted some of the key commitments made after their meeting in Suva this week.

The commitments include a package of support from New Zealand to the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) specifically in peacekeeping and leadership development.

The two ministers said they were committed to intensifying co-operation in the area of policing and border control to ensure security for both countries to combat transnational organised crime.

They have also agreed it was time to take Fiji and New Zealand’s relationship to a new level based on common interests, shared prosperity and security that binds the two countries together.

Some of the key commitments: q New Zealand is committed to the establishment of two new positions in its high commission in Suva to boost the heightened engagements anticipated as a result of these renewed relations


; q New Zealand is allocating new resources for development assistance in order to leverage new opportunities, address common challenges and strengthen New Zealand’s relations with Fiji and the region;

q Fiji and New Zealand are committed to the convening of joint ministerial consultations to consolidate relations further and effectively progress issues. The meeting will be complemented by regular multi-agency officials’ level talks;

q The ministers also committed to growing relations in trade and investment, and remain open to discussing issues surrounding PACER Plus;

q New Zealand has committed to targeted assistance to improve opportunities for businesses and investment in Fiji;

q New Zealand will continue to build resilient communities in Fiji and is committed to strengthening Fiji’s disaster resilience through a partnership with the National Disaster Management Office;

q In recognition of opportunities in the education sector, the ministers discussed collaboration in the development of a research institute, reviewing of Fiji’s school curriculum, developing human resources and addressing skills shortages; and,

q On labour mobility, Fiji welcomed New Zealand’s commitment to strengthen the existing Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme and to explore opportunities to lift the participation of Fijian workers in the scheme.

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