NATION

USA-Fiji Arrangement To Protect Sovereignty, Help Police Waters

Minister for Defence and National Security Ratu Inoke Kubuabola expressed his heartfelt gratitude yesterday during the signing of the Shiprider Agreement between Fiji and the United States of America. While
13 Nov 2018 10:00
USA-Fiji Arrangement To Protect Sovereignty, Help Police Waters
Acting US Ambassador Michael Goldman with Minister for Defence and National Security Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.

Minister for Defence and National Security Ratu Inoke Kubuabola expressed his heartfelt gratitude yesterday during the signing of the Shiprider Agreement between Fiji and the United States of America.

While officiating at the event, Ratu Inoke said he was happy that the long-standing agreement had been brought to conclusion for signing as he finished his term as minister.

He said the agreement would benefit the armed forces in the country, especially the Republic of the Fiji Navy and border control to crack down on transnational crimes like drug trafficking and unregulated fishing.

Acting US Ambassador Michael Goldman said a Shiprider Agreement is first and foremost an agreement that is designed to protect the host nation’s sovereignty and to promote its ability to police its own waters.

“As you are aware since we have been negotiating this for some time, a shiprider provides the host government the ability to ride along with US Coastguard and Naval vessels patrolling your vast territorial waters and exclusive economic zones,” Mr Goldman said.

“It provides the ability to identify and possibly interdict ships that maybe involved in illicit activity; illegal fishing, narcotics, smuggling.”

He said the agreement would allow both countries to cooperate and address these issues to promote joint security.

“We feel at home here and we are committed to helping our friends and partners in the Pacific.”

Mr Goldman said the Oceania Maritime Security initiative had been around for a few years and was designed to augment the efforts of US Pacific partners.

He commented that the shiprider signing marks the close relationship that Fiji had with the US and their shared commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Edited by Percy Kean

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