NEWS

Australia to Step Up Engagement with Fiji, Pacific, Reiterates PM Scott Morrison

Mr Bainimarama was critical of Mr Morrison after the forum leaders failed to reach a consensus on climate change because Australia stood alone.
13 Sep 2019 20:29
Australia to Step Up Engagement with Fiji, Pacific, Reiterates PM Scott Morrison
Minister for Defence, National Security and Foreign Affairs Inia Seruiratu (left), and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with one of the officials from the Cleanaway Resource Co-facility in Sydney, Australia, on September 12, 2019. Photo: PM’s Office

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has reiterated that Australia is committed to stepping up its engagement with Fiji and the Pacific more broadly to address common challenges and deepen longstanding ties in our region.

Mr Morrison made a similar statement when he visited Fiji in January this year and announced the Vuvale Partnership.

“We want to ensure the Pacific prospers as a family, with each sovereign country charting its own course and shaping its own future,” he said in a statement prior to Mr Bainimarama’s arrival in Canberra with his high powered delegation for his first official visit.

“I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Bainimarama to Australia as my guest,” Mr Morrison said.

“Australia and Fiji, a key regional leader, have a strong friendship and a long history of co-operation, shared interests and values. We are all part of the same Pacific family, the Pacific vuvale.

“During my visit to Suva in January, Prime Minister Bainimarama and I committed to holding more regular meetings to demonstrate our personal commitment to this relationship.

“We will discuss shared regional challenges such as illegal fishing and climate change, opportunities for increased trade, investment and labour mobility, as well as strengthening our co-operation on defence and security.”

It’s evident that Mr Morrison has put behind him Mr Bainimarama’s criticism of him in Tuvalu during the Pacific Islands Forum meeting.

Mr Bainimarama was critical of Mr Morrison after the forum leaders failed to reach a consensus on climate change because Australia stood alone.

As the biggest coal producer and user in the region, Australia was protecting its economic interests.

Australia has also been at the forefront of developing alternative sources of renewable energy.

Mr Bainimarama is expected to visit some of these projects during this visit.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

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