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Fiji is the only member country that has yet to ratify the 2005 Agreement Establishing the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).
This, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy secretary Esala Nayasi while presenting to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence this week.
He said of the 18 members of the PIF, 17 had signed and ratified the 2005 Agreement. Nayasi said Fiji’s ratification would result in the enforcement of the 2005 Agreement.
He said the agreement would promote solidarity and unity in the region and demonstrated Fiji’s commitment and trust in the organisation.
“Ratifying the 2005 Agreement will strengthen and promote co-operation and relations with other Pacific Island countries who are members of the forum,” he said.
Nayasi said it was imperative for Fiji to ratify the agreement as it would be hosting the PIF Leaders summit this year and that Fiji would chair the PIF.
Meanwhile, Parliament’s approval for Fiji to ratify the 2005 Agreement establishing the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) is crucially important, says academic and former permanent secretary Joji Kotobalavu.
He said the ratification would signal to other PIF member countries that Fiji had committed itself to accepting membership of the PIF and all the duties and obligations that flowed from it.
“This is especially important because Fiji is the host country to the PIF Secretariat and a frequent host to PIF meetings of various kinds, and at different levels,” he said.
Kotobalavu said Fiji would be demonstrating its strong commitment to the PIF by making the 2005 PIF Agreement part of the statutory laws of Fiji.
“This incorporation of the 2005 PIF Agreement into the statute laws of Fiji is important in the event disputes arise over, for example, the privileges and immunities of the Fiji-based PIF Secretariat and its expatriate staff under the Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Act.
Kotobalavu strongly recommended that Parliament formally ratify the 2005 PIF Agreement.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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