Fiji and Papua New Guinea held a significant meeting on the sidelines of the 2024 Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Budget Foreign Ministers Meeting in Port Vila, Vanuatu last week.

PNG’s Foreign Minister Justin Tkatchenko met with Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of Fiji, Lenora Qereqeretabua, on 28 March , acknowledging the increased bilateral engagement, particularly after the recent visits by Prime Minister James Marape and Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka to each other’s capitals last year.

They also highlighted the reopening of the Fiji High Commission in Port Moresby as a symbol of strengthening ties.

Reaffirming their support and commitment, they discussed the prompt establishment of diplomatic chanceries in the capitals of both countries. Additionally, Tkatchenko reminded Fiji of PNG’s pledge of K5.5 million (US$1.45 million) to aid schools affected by tropical cyclone Wilson in 2016 and urged quick identification of needy schools for renovation.

Trade and investment promotion featured prominently in their discussions, with Tkatchenko commending Fiji for signing onto the MSG Trade Agreement and expressing PNG’s commitment to join once internal processes are completed.

On security cooperation, Tkatchenko briefed Qereqeretabua on the Pacific Security Training Centre, a joint initiative with Australia under the BSA, to be established in Bomana. Fiji was invited to send its security personnel for training.

Both ministers also agreed on the need to review the existing MOU on Security Cooperation, considering evolving security dynamics, and discussed the possibility of entering into a Status of Forces Agreement. Discussions on this matter are set to commence soon.