History may be calling for us in the Blue Pacific and it might be our manifest destiny to carry banners for peace and speak out for harmony, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka said at a Lowy Institute-organised event in Canberra yesterday.
Prime Minister Rabuka described his hopes for the Pacific as a zone of peace in the 21st century, a cause that requires collaborative efforts.
“During the recent UNGA Meeting in the United States, Fiji committed to the UN Secretary-General’s ‘New Agenda for Peace’ which outlines a vision for multilateral efforts based on international law, for a world in transition,” he said.
“I indicated that the new agenda for peace is consistent with the Boe Declaration on Regional Security issued by Pacific Forum leaders which declared the Pacific to be a region of peace. This concept of peace is the premise for our future.
“The emerging associated contest requires us to stake our claim that the Pacific region is a “zone of peace”. It is in our collective interest to keep it that way. For together, we are strong.”
By declaring the Pacific as a Zone of Peace, the Prime Minister highlighted that we bring it together with the Boe Declaration with its combined multiplier effect to the benefit of the region.
“The Pacific as a Zone of Peace creates the opportunity for our unique cultures and peoples to declare our homes, waters, food sources, livelihoods, development and aspirations free of coercion.”
He further remarked that our diverse Pacific communities maintain cohesion by employing in-depth Pacific worldviews, showing respect, engaging in talanoa (dialogue) that enable empowerment and interactive environments, which are often absent from many formal settings.
“What is clear is that we will continue to abide by the Rarotonga Treaty and the Pacific Island Forum declaration of a nuclear-free Pacific.
“The vast Pacific Ocean is our Continent. It is part of our identity and source of livelihood. Its management is key to our wellbeing and sharing the “common wealth” of our region is the sure way that no one will be left behind.”
On that note, Prime Minister Rabuka expressed that Australia is an important partner and remains one of Fiji’s largest trading partner in the Pacific.
“I believe the way forward for us small island developing states to meet these existential threats is building partnership through genuine dialogue, mutual cooperation and collaboration through a combined Pacific voice. You all have a part to play.”
The event was attended by Members of Parliament, academics, university students, diplomats and think tanks in Australia.
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