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Fiji Prime Minister Praised For His Commitment In Addressing Climate Change By Tuvaluan Prime Minister

Mr Bainimarama’s presence in the annual event is significant because this is the first time, after a decade, that he is making an appearance at the forum.
12 Aug 2019 11:57
Fiji Prime Minister Praised For His Commitment In Addressing Climate Change By Tuvaluan Prime Minister
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama greeted by women and children of Tuvalu in a pool of water at Funafuti on August 11, 2019. The women and children in the water was a demonstration that the people of Tuvalu are threatened by climate change and the rising sea water. Photo: Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, was welcomed with warmth and high praise as he arrived in Tuvalu ahead of the 50th Pacific Islands Forum meeting, which starts today.

Mr Bainimarama and host nation leader, Enele Sopoaga, will play key roles in driving the week-long forum.

Events begin today with a Climate Change Sautalaga, with the theme ‘Securing our Future in the Pacific’.

Mr Bainimarama is the chief guest and will make opening remarks, followed by Mr Sopoaga.

Both leaders are expected to make strong statements on the climate change front as is the case with Mr Bainimarama in many of the big international meetings.

Mr Bainimarama’s presence in the annual event is significant because this is the first time, after a decade, that he is making an appearance at the forum.

At a press conference yesterday in Rt. Hon. Dr. Sir. Tomasi Puapua Convention Centre in Funafuti, Mr Sopoaga said: “The connections between the two countries run deep and I look forward to working discussing wide range of issues affecting the two countries.

“There is a strong connection between Tuvalu and Fiji, where Prime Minister Bainimarama had personally written to me offering a portion of land in Fiji for the people of Tuvalu,” said Mr Sopoaga.

“His commitment is unprecedented and we look forward to Fiji’s participation.”

Mr Bainimarama had snubbed the forum even after a suspension instigated by Australia and New Zealand was lifted.

Mr Bainimarama and Fiji had maintained that Australia and New Zealand should not have voting powers in the forum.

Additionally, the relationship between Fiji and Tuvalu was strengthened in 2017 when Mr Sopoaga, during the United Nations Ocean Conference in New York, praised Mr Bainimarama’s stance on climate change.

There, Mr Sopoaga called the actions of the United States President Donald Trump as naïve, but praised Fiji for taking a lead role in addressing climate change to the rest of the world.

He said Fiji had done well and under its COP23 Presidency had become a beacon of hope for island nations like Tuvalu.

Also in 2017, Mr Bainimarama announced that people from Tuvalu and Kiribati, could settle permanently in Fiji if they are forced from their own islands due to climate change.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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