Fijian Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka will outline his nation’s role in the Indo-Pacific during a visit to Australia, amid soaring regional tensions.
Anthony Albanese will meet with his Fijian counterpart in Canberra on Wednesday, where they will update the Fiji-Australia Vuvale Partnership, which sets out shared priorities of the relationship in a bid to strengthen peace in the Pacific.
The two nations will reaffirm they are committed to “ambitious” action on climate change, and continue to recognise it as the biggest threat to livelihoods and regional security.
They will also discuss bolstering disaster resilience.
Albanese said he was delighted to welcome Rabuka.
“Australia and Fiji are natural partners and we deeply value our close and longstanding relationship,” he said.
“I look forward to strengthening our partnership with Fiji on economic recovery, promoting people-to-people links, security and cyber cooperation.”
The leaders last met in Nadi in March, where they held talks at a peacekeeping and disaster relief camp.
Rabuka will address a Lowy Institute event in Canberra on Tuesday, discussing increasing competition in the region as well as his developmental and economic ambitions for his country.
He will be introduced by Foreign Minister Penny Wong.
It will be the first visit to Australia by a Fijian prime minister since 2019.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka paid a courtesy call on the Governor-General of Australia David Hurley at Admirality House Monday.
In a candid moment prior to their meeting behind closed doors, Prime Minister Rabuka and Governor-General Hurley reflected on their years of service as decorated military officers.
Hurley thanked the Prime Minister and the people of Fiji for the warm hospitality he received while on official visit to Fiji last year, adding it reinforced the two nations shared aspirations and commitment on areas of mutual concern.
He thanked Rabuka for his swift action in bringing Kiribati back to the Pacific Islands Forum, and fostering a spirit of unity within the forum family.
Governor-General Hurley also acknowledged Fiji’s support to regional solidarity, and collaboration in areas such as climate and ocean action, economic recovery and defence and security, among other important sectors.
Prime Minister Rabuka, in his response, stated that the Governor General’s visit to Fiji demonstrated Australia’s commitment to maintaining and strengthening our relations.
He also thanked him for the opportunity to meet and further discuss our bilateral relations, highlighting the positive impact of our Vuvale Partnership which has reached our people at the grass root level.
On the regional front, Rabuka said that he is looking forward to the upcoming Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in Rarotonga, next month where the Forum leaders will be endorsing the Implementation Plan for the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.
Additionally, he said Fiji is in support of Australia’s bid to host COP31, noting that it will be a Pacific COP and an opportunity for our region to advance and shape the narrative of change and influence and accelerate global efforts to avoid climate chaos.
SOURCE: AAP/FIJI GOVT/PACNEWS