Indonesian Backing Sought For Council
Fiji has asked Indonesia to support its candidacy for membership in the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama made the request in his bilateral meeting with the Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi in the Margins of the 71st United Nations General Assembly in New York.
This was one of Mr Bainimarama’s first official engagements as Minister for Foreign Affairs. He replaces Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, who is now Minister for Immigration, National Security and Defence.
Mr Bainimarama said: “We would very much appreciate Indonesia’s support towards our candidacy in the 2017 election.
“In our 2013 Constitution, and throughout my Government’s activities, the protection of human rights remains our utmost priority, and we hope to bring that commitment to the Human Rights Council should our bid be successful.”
He acknowledged Indonesia’s support towards Fiji’s proposal for observer status in ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations).
“While the moratorium on observer applications remains in effect, we look forward to pushing our submission again at the appropriate time,” he said.
He expressed his gratitude to international partners for coming forward to help Fiji rebuild after Cyclone Winston.
“We were lucky that many of our international partners – Indonesia included – came to our aid to help get our people back on their feet. And I would like to especially thank the Indonesian Government for assisting with the reconstruction of Queen Victoria School.”
Mr Bainimarama said one way to revitalise our agriculture sector was vegetable seedlings, grains and fertiliser for farms and fish feed and fish strains for fisheries.
“We hope to explore opportunities for cooperation with the Indonesian Government in these areas, so that we can rebuild back better than before and keep sustainable our record economic growth,” Mr Bainimarama said.
“Our nations already have a lengthy history of cooperation that covers a broad range of development areas, including fisheries, small and medium enterprises, public works and infrastructure, diplomat training, women empowerment and child protection, youth and sports, elections, disaster management and visa exemption for diplomats.
“These joint projects have been enormously beneficial to the Fijians they have impacted, and we are keen to carry out similar work alongside Indonesia in other areas and deepen our existing cooperation. For example, now that we have signed the Visa Exemption Agreement for short-term stay visas for our Diplomatic and Service Passport holders, we would also like to request the same exemption be extended to our ordinary passport holders.
“We also see many new opportunities for economic cooperation.
“Our Fijian-made brand is expanding in popularity as a brand increasingly associated with quality natural resource products, and we hope to attract niche markets for Pure Fiji, Virgin Coconut Oil and others in Indonesia.”
Edited By Rusiate Mataika