PM: Fiji Natural Hub of Region

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama  says Fiji is the natural hub of the region. He stressed Fiji’s desire to take a leading role in multilateral forums to advance the interests of
23 Aug 2015 16:05
PM: Fiji Natural Hub of Region
Prime ministers Voreqe Bainimarama and Narendra Modi during their meeting in Jaipur.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama  says Fiji is the natural hub of the region.

He stressed Fiji’s desire to take a leading role in multilateral forums to advance the interests of the Pacific nations at the Forum for India-Pacific Island Co-operation summit in Jaipur, India, yesterday.

Addressing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said: “Fiji is ideally placed to host the institutions that are needed to tackle the challenges that face us in a comprehensive and holistic manner.”

“We already host the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, the Pacific Islands Development Forum Secretariat and a host of international missions and organisations dealing with the Pacific.

“We already host the region’s only transnational institute of higher learning – the University of the South Pacific – and the Fiji National University, which includes the only medical school in the Pacific.  So, Mr Prime Minister, Fiji is ideally positioned to host other international and regional institutions.”

He said: “just as Fiji is open for business as we enjoy the longest running period of economic growth in our history, our doors are open to the region and the world. And we offer our services to help empower all Pacific peoples and have their voices heard.

“I again extend Fiji’s hand of friendship to my fellow Pacific Islanders, whether it is by sending you our civilian volunteers – our teachers or nurses – or helping you to build resilience against the extreme weather events that threaten us all.

“I again extend Fiji’s hand of friendship to the world, with a pledge to continue our contribution to United Nations peacekeeping missions to protect the vulnerable and help keep the world a safer place.

And I again extend our hand of friendship to India. With our warmest thanks for all you have already done to contribute to the development of our nation and our region. And with great anticipation and excitement at what we can all achieve by working together as partners in the months and years to come.

“Prime Minister Modi, you have the great honour to lead the world’s biggest democracy and a major power on the global stage. We in the Pacific look to India to take a greater lead in resolving the great challenges of our time. Which is why Fiji is strongly supporting India’s bid to become a Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council.

“For our part, we have the great honour to again engage with you face to face to discuss ways in which we can strengthen India’s engagement with our region and our people. To explore new avenues of collaboration. To tap India’s burgeoning expertise in a wide range of areas. To take our friendship to another level.

“Mr Prime Minister, of all the island nations, Fiji has the closest ties with India because of the tens of thousands of indentured labourers who went to work in our plantations – mainly sugar – from British India. Every Fijian – no matter who they are or where they come from – values the wonderful assistance that India has provided towards Fiji’s development over the years. The hundreds of scholarships for Fijians at Indian institutions to bolster our human resources and capacity building. And the support the Indian Government has provided to establish our new and genuine democracy of equal votes of equal value – the first in Fijian history. For this assistance, we shall always be grateful.

“Mr Prime Minister, Fiji welcomes and appreciates India’s stated intention to play a greater role in the Pacific region. And especially to work with us as smaller nations to enable us to reach our full potential. To share your technology and expertise. To help us develop our resources in a sustainable manner. To work together for our mutual benefit in global forums. To uphold and protect the values we share. The cornerstones of your own nation and ours – democracy, unity, harmony, diversity and opportunity and justice for all.”



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