New Zealand Defence Minister Andrew Little departs for Suva Tuesday to meet with his Fiji counterpart, Minister for Home Affairs and Immigration Pio Tikoduadua, to further strengthen the relationship between both countries.
“New Zealand and Fiji have a strong defence relationship built on close cooperation and people-to-people ties,” Andrew Little said.
“Our militaries already cooperate across many areas and I look forward to further strengthening this enduring relationship with the Republic of Fiji as one of our key Pacific partners.”
While in Fiji the Ministers will sign a Status of Forces Agreement providing a legal framework for New Zealand and Fijian military forces to effectively cooperate within each other’s territories. They will also discuss a range of defence and security issues.
“This agreement will allow NZ and Fiji to work together more effectively to lift cooperation in areas that support security and stability in the Pacific, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” Andrew Little said.
“Climate change is an existential threat in our part of the world and as defence leaders we cannot view climate change as something that only others must grapple with.”
The visit follows Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka’s visit to New Zealand where Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced a further NZ$11.1 million (US$6.7 million) of climate change support for Fiji to respond to the effects of climate change.
Minister Little returns to New Zealand on Thursday 15 June.
SOURCE: NZ GOVT/PACNEWS