Fiji’s Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sitiveni Rabuka and his Australian counterpart, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, have reaffirmed their commitment to building a sustainable, peaceful, and prosperous Pacific region.
In their first in-person meeting Wednesday, both leaders reinforced their strong commitment to the Fiji-Australia Vuvale Partnership, with the focus on economic recovery, climate resilience and regional security.
Prime Minister Albanese’s visit to Fiji follows his recent meetings with the United States President Jo Biden and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi.
At their bilateral meeting, Prime Minister Rabuka thanked Prime Minister Albanese for his timely visit to Fiji, symbolising Fiji and Australia’s warm relations as traditional partners in the Pacific.
The discussions outlined prospects for partnership in the areas such as Pacific-Australia labour mobility, trade and tourism, defence and security, infrastructure, health and education, women and youth empowerment.
The meeting, held at the Blackrock Camp, prompted discussions on Fiji and Australia’s cooperation to expand the facility to serve the Pacific, in mobilisation of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) and regional peacekeeping training.
On behalf of the Government and the people of Fiji, Prime Minister Rabuka thanked the Government of Australia and its people for the tremendous support they have provided to Fiji over the years.
He reaffirmed his commitment to work closely with Prime Minister Albanese to strengthen the Vuvale Partnership and build a strong, sustainable future for the people of the Pacific.
Prime Minister Rabuka commended Prime Minister Albanese for his exemplary leadership and unwavering support, as the two nations work collectively to recover from the pandemic, build defence and security, economic cooperation, climate action initiatives and protect the oceans and the environment for the future generations.
He reiterated Fiji’s support for Australia’s bid to host the Climate change COP31- a major opportunity to amplify Pacific voices on the acceleration of global efforts to tackle climate crisis.
On regional cooperation, Prime Minister Rabuka highlighted the key outcomes of the recent Pacific Islands Forum Special Leaders’ Retreat and extended his sincere appreciation for Australia’s continued support for Pacific prosperity.
Prime Minister Rabuka said he was grateful for the standing invitation for him to visit Australia and he looked forward to taking up this offer at the earliest opportunity, as schedules allow.
Australia’s Prime Minister Albanese said he was delighted to have an opportunity to meet Prime Minister Rabuka in person, both to understand Fiji’s priorities for our Vuvale Partnership and to understand how both countries could strengthen cooperation in support of a stable and prosperous Pacific.
He also acknowledged Prime Minister Rabuka’s diplomatic success in bringing Kiribati back into our Pacific Islands Forum family.
He further reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to the Vuvale Partnership, and to continuing to work with Fiji as equal partners to address shared challenges and priorities.
The meeting concluded on a high note, with Prime Minister Albanese congratulating Prime Minister Rabuka on his election and reiterating his invitation to visit Australia as a guest of Government.
SOURCE: FIJI GOVT/PACNEWS