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Ratu Epeli Joins World Leaders For Armistice Day

Former Fijian President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau joined more than 60 world leaders in France on November 11, 2018 to commemorate the 100th anniver­sary of the armistice that brought an end
13 Nov 2018 12:00
Ratu Epeli Joins World Leaders For Armistice Day
Former Fijian President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau (circled) with world leaders at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I.

Former Fijian President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau joined more than 60 world leaders in France on November 11, 2018 to commemorate the 100th anniver­sary of the armistice that brought an end to the first world war.

Global commemorations centred on Paris at the Arc de Triomphe where leaders like Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump were in attendance including Justine Trudeau, Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin, Emmanuel Macron and oth­er leaders from across the globe.

Most heads of state arrived in coaches driven up the Champs Ély­sées from the presidential palace in the pouring rain after which they walked slowly together in a line under black umbrellas to the Arc de Triomphe.

French commentators described the image of world leaders walk­ing together through the rain as a moving gesture of peace.

In a tweet, French Ambassador Sujiro Seam referred to Ratu Epeli as a decorated war veteran and stated that Ratu Epeli represented Fiji at the Armistice Day commem­oration in Paris for the country’s contribution in the first world war. He said 124 Fijians did not return home from the Great War of 1914 to 1918.

Ratu Epeli’s career spanned 20 years in the military.

He trained as a soldier in New Zealand and served on secondment in the First Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment in 1966 and was posted to Sarawak, Malay­sia during Indonesia’s “Konfron­tasi” against Malaysia.

He rose steadily through the ranks. As a lieutenant-colonel he led the first battalion of our peace­keepers to go into Lebanon as part of UNIFIL. By 1987, he held the rank of Brigadier-General, and was the Commander of the then Royal Fiji Military Forces.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj

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