NEWS

PM Praises Turnbull

Fiji is at the cusp of embarking on a new era in its government-to-government relations with Australia. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama told business leaders at the Sydney Trade Symposium yesterday.
15 Oct 2016 11:00
PM Praises Turnbull
From Right: Voreqe Bainimarama and Malcolm Turnbull

Fiji is at the cusp of embarking on a new era in its government-to-government relations with Australia.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama told business leaders at the Sydney Trade Symposium yesterday.

There was a good turn-out at least 130 people attended the one-day event.

Fiji and Australia have “come together at a time when our bilateral relationship has never been healthier or more dynamic,” he said.

After the 2006 military takeover, diplomatic relations with Canberra had been strained. Sanctions Australia imposed then caused anger here.

But that seem to have thawed with Mr Bainimarama now keen to develop a close relationship with Mr Turnbull and ministers like Julie Bishop.

Mr Bainimarama – who last month had a friendly meeting with Mr Turnbull and Ms Bishop while at the United Nations in New York – said in Sydney: “I regard Mr Turnbull as an outstanding individual with a very clear and enlightened understanding of regional and global issues.

“And especially the most pressing issue that we face in the Pacific Islands – the threat posed to our very existence by the extreme weather events and rising sea levels caused by climate change.”

Significantly Mr Turnbull has not been engaged in the hostility towards Fiji and meddling displayed by such recent Australian leaders as Julie Gillard and Kevin Rudd.

Fiji is keen to explore new avenues of collaboration.

But Mr Bainimarama made it clear that while Fiji has not withdrawn from Pacer Plus trade agreement negotiations, we are not prepared to sign the current document.

He said: “The current document is too one sided, too restrictive, places too many obligations on us that we cannot afford to meet. We need more flexibility and more concessions to enable us to have trading relationships with others.”

On the same note, Mr Bainimarama said Fiji would continue talks on the issue and keep seeking an outcome that suits all parties.

“And only if Australia and New Zealand ultimately refuse to be flexible on the key concerns of Fiji and other Pacific island nations – only then will we walk away.”

Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Land and Mineral Resources, Faiyaz Siddiq Koya said the event was a success.

He made special mention of Lang Walker during the Cocktail Function.

Mr Walker’s  Kokomo Resort has put Kadavu on the global stage.

Mr Koya thanked Mr Walker for his foresight and for transforming the prospects of the people of Kadavu.

Robert Kromb  the co-founder of the Kookai fashion label in Australia and New Zealand was also highlighted for contributing to the regional business community.

The Fijian Government delegation included the Permanent Secretary for Trade, Shaheen Ali and officials of the Ministry, the Investment Fiji chief executive officer Godo Müller-Teut, Trade Commissioner in Australia, Zarak Khan and Fijian High Commissioner in Canberra, Yogesh Punja.

Today Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, and her husband, John join Fijians in Liverpool, Sydney, to celebrate Fiji Day.

Mr Bainimarama will be there. No doubt he and Senator Fierravanti-Wells will further informally discuss developing the Fijian-Australian relationship.

Edited by Maraia Vula

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: