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Blinken Visit Marks Start of More Direct Partnership Between Fiji, U.S

Fiji is also keen to open more of the U.S export market to our farmers, the acting PM said.
14 Feb 2022 15:10
Blinken Visit Marks Start of More Direct Partnership Between Fiji, U.S
(Left) US Secretary of State Antony Blinken with the Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum during a joint press conference at the Sofitel Resort & Spa in Nadi on February 12, 2022. Photo: Leon Lord

Fiji and fellow Fijians need American might and its minds – as well as pioneering solutions and investments – here, at the shores of this Blue Frontier.

Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum made the comment when he hosted the U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the Sofitel Fiji Resort, Denarau on Saturday.

The visit, 40 years after the previous visit by former US Secretary of State George Pratt Shultz reaffirms that the ocean and islands that fall under the region’s responsibility are too vital for our people and for the planet for any leader to fly over or overlook”, said Mr Sayed-Khaiyum.

“We believe that both mark the start of a more direct partnership between Fiji and the U.S.A and a new era for America in the Blue Frontier of the Pacific,” he said.

“America is uniquely positioned     to be a direct partner to Fiji for peace and climate security not only across the Indo-Pacific, but here in the Blue Pacific. America is a large emitter that must cut its carbon emissions, but because it is an innovator that can create climate solutions.

“That big, blue responsibility is linked to the wellbeing of every person on Earth.

He added that both countries share to face a new war today a climate war that is devastating our people unlike any conflict before it that will be spared its consequences.

“Fiji and America are both working in support of a more secure, stable and peaceful region, but there is far more we need to do together as partners in this battle of our lives.

During the meeting, Fiji welcomed America’s net-zero commitment as well as Mr Blinken’s recent pledge to decarbonise operations within the State Department.

“Fijians believe in leading by example as well, which is why despite our emissions being negligible we committed to achieving net-zero by 2050.

“Mitigation and adaptation both require access to technology we do not have and which major market powers like the USA can help us deploy – including in blue shipping. And that means jobs for Fijians, jobs in cutting edge technology and from nature that both can build the future.

 

Trade, employment

Fiji is also keen to open more of the U.S export market to our farmers, the acting PM said.

“We’d love to export more of our kava –– as well as ginger, taro, turmeric, sugar, Fijian chocolates, cosmetics and other Fijian-grown and Fijian-made products to the U.S.

“We also welcome U.S firms looking to participate in our growing outsourcing services sector. We have young, well-spoken, English speaking, tech savvy and frankly, very friendly, people who would love the opportunity.”

 

Commitment

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said their discussions covered their commitment to uphold the rule of law in our region, including the Law of the Sea.

“As we move to sustainably manage and protect our ocean, we’ve sought to jointly up our game through our navies, militaries, and our Fiji Police Force through maritime surveillance cooperation to end illegal fishing, combat transnational crime, and ensure that this is an ocean decade of exploration and discovery –– not exploitation and destruction,” he added.

They also discussed the opportunities for greater participation from the USA in the Australian-funded Blackrock facility in Fiji to coordinate joint responses to catastrophic events, not just in Fiji, but in the wider Pacific.

Feedback:  waisean@fijisun.com.fj



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