Brussels, 02 February 2024- The Prime Minister Honourable Sitiveni Rabuka delivered our country statement at the EU Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum in Brussels today.
He called for collaborative efforts to transcend geographical boundaries and build partnerships founded on mutual respect and understanding.
Addressing the high-level Forum which was chaired by Mr Josep Borrell Fontelles, the High Representative and Vice President of the European Commission, and Foreign Ministers, Prime Minister Rabuka highlighted the ongoing crises and geopolitical challenges that we must address.
“We stand at a crossroad, confronted by a world of interconnected complex crises and geopolitical tensions. Our collective well-being hinges on our ability to forge a new path towards a more sustainable, equitable, and peaceful future,” he said.
On the regional front, the Prime Minister acknowledged the impact of geopolitical tensions and the escalating climate crisis on the Pacific region. In this regard, he welcomed the EU Indo-Pacific Strategy and Global Gateway initiative.
“Recognizing our limited capacity to address global challenges individually, we must work together as a collective. Therefore, we welcome the EU Indo-Pacific Strategy and Global Gateway initiative, in promoting geostrategic cooperation to achieve common goals,” he added.
He also commended the recent endorsement of the Samoa Agreement, marking an important milestone in strengthening bilateral ties between the EU and OACP member States.
The Prime Minister, at the same time, welcomed the EU’s commitment to environmental stewardship.
Additionally, he urged a collective commitment to making the Blue Pacific a Zone of Peace.
“The Blue Pacific envisages becoming a Zone of Peace. This is a call that I have made at regional and global forums last year. It is a call that I now have the opportunity to make to you dear friends, at this Forum,” Hon. Rabuka stated.
“We want to be a region free of militarisation and conflict, in line with the United Nations Charter and the values of multilateralism and collective action.
“Guided by the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, we want to work together with partners in the Indo-Pacific and the EU to protect our vast ocean space.
“The EU is a key partner in our pursuit of a peaceful and secure Pacific region.”
In closing, Prime Minister Rabuka expressed optimism that the EU’s commitment to fostering free and fair trade, sustainable supply chains, and digital innovation would inspire economic growth in the Pacific region, addressing poverty and supporting key economic policies.
“I urge us to reaffirm our commitment to shaping a future where peace, prosperity, and environmental stewardship will prevail.
“Let us envision an Indo-Pacific that stands as a beacon of peace, a sanctuary for biodiversity, and an example of sustainable development for all.”
The annual Forum serves as a platform to foster constructive dialogue and collaboration between Europe and the vast Indo-Pacific region towards shaping a resilient future, aligning with the broader goals of enhancing regional stability and prosperity.
It brings together the Foreign Ministers of the 27 EU Member States and 43 countries in the Indo-Pacific region and representatives of European institutions.