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Our Presence Will Remain, Says Aust Foreign Minister

The Australian Defence personnel will retain its presence here for as long as they are needed, says the Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop. Close to a thousand Australian defence
15 Mar 2016 10:56
Our Presence Will  Remain, Says Aust Foreign Minister
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with award-winning farmer, Konalevulevu Tobesoisoi, in Tailevu on July 8, 2019. Photo: Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama

The Australian Defence personnel will retain its presence here for as long as they are needed, says the Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop.

Close to a thousand Australian defence personnel are currently deployed in cyclone-ravaged Koro Island to assist in recovery efforts following the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Winston more than three weeks ago.

Ms Bishop said they were in the hands of the Government.

“We are continuing to retain our presence here with defence personnel, civilians and also volunteers here have moved from the phase of immediate support to longer term support,” Ms Bishop said.

“(We are) Putting roofs on schools so children can get back to school, ensuring that medical centres are operating and of course ensuring that the tourist trade, can continue to thrive because tourism is one of the major pillars of the Fijian economy.

“We had two teams here of 21 medical personnel and they will remain for as long as they need and likewise for the defence personnel.”

She said they were working with the Government to provide the support they needed.

“Australia from the outset as a friend and long standing partner of Fiji is prepared to provide as much support the Fijian Government has asked for and in the areas that they have asked for,” she said.

“We are a friend; we are a partner and neighbour.

“This is our part of the world and Australia has responded in a way that I hope supports the Fijian people and they seem very grateful for it.”

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

Feedback: aqela.susu@fijisun.com.fj

 

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