NEWS

Fiji, Australia Seal Blackrock Project

Fiji was indeed grateful to the Government of Australia for fully committing to undertake this project as a whole through financial assistance and technical expertise.
17 Apr 2019 10:15
Fiji, Australia Seal Blackrock Project
Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Defence and National Security Manasa Lesuma (third from left), the Assistant Secretary Indo-Pacific Enhanced Engagement Branch, International Policy Division, Australian Department of Defence, Sue Bodell (fourth from left), Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Deputy Commander Brigadier-General Mohammed Aziz (fifth from left) with Australian Defence Force personnel after the signing on April 16, 2019. Photo: DEPTFO News

Fiji and Australia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will result in the redevelopment of the Blackrock military camp in Nadi, which prepares members of the disciplined services for peacekeeping duties overseas.

The MOU was signed by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Defence and National Security, Manasa Lesuma, and the Assistant Secretary Indo-Pacific Enhanced Engagement Branch, International Policy Division, Australian Department of Defence, Sue Bodell.

Mr Lesuma said Fiji was grateful to the Government of Australia for fully committing to this project.

“First and foremost, I acknowledge and thank the Government of Australia for its commitment to assist Fiji in the redevelopment of the Blackrock Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Assistance Camp,” he said.

Important project

Yesterday’s MOU signing, Mr Lesuma said, was a realisation of a significant part of that relationship and the eminent Vuvale Partnership between the two countries.

Mr Lesuma said the Blackrock camp was an important project for the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) and Fiji as a whole.

He said the redevelopment of the Blackrock Camp into a fully operational military training centre for the RFMF would enhance Fiji’s peacekeeping performance, contribution and humanitarian assistance capabilities.

Moreover, he said, the project that was about to unfold would greatly boost Fiji’s image of Fiji as the “Hub of the Pacific” because the facility could also serve as a regional hub in terms of peacekeeping training and humanitarian assistance.

He said for a long time Fiji had been engaging with foreign partners to provide financial assistance for this project and had received offers from some other development partners.

However, he said, Fiji was indeed grateful to the Government of Australia for fully committing to undertake this project as a whole through financial assistance and technical expertise.

Ms Bodell said Australia was grateful to be involved in this project.

She said it was timely because it would also help train those from the Pacific Islands.

Australia, she said, would continue to be engaged with Fiji.

Edited by Epineri Vula

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