Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Honourable Sitiveni Rabuka received an introductory courtesy call from the High Commissioner of the Republic of Kiribati to Fiji, His Excellency Mr. Tebuai Uaai, this afternoon (January, 17th, 2023).
The meeting took place ahead of the official visit to Kiribati by Prime Minister Rabuka to meet with the president of the Republic of Kiribati, His Excellency Taneti Maamau, this Friday, 20 January 2023.
The discussions were focused on important aspects of this visit and the way forward to bring back Kiribati to the Pacific Forum family. Prospects for future cooperation in key areas of development to address common challenges were also outlined at the meeting
Prime Minister Rabuka acknowledged that the Republic of Kiribati is a close friend of Fiji with deep people-to-people ties that pre-dates the colonial era. He said the ties have been strengthened through the Banaban community in Rabi Island which, will always remain a key foundation of our relations.
Prime Minister Rabuka said the restoration of Pacific Islands Forum’s (PIF) solidarity is a key priority for him in his role as the new Chair of the PIFs. He commended Kiribati’s willingness to remain open to dialogue with Forum Leaders towards a resolution and he also thanked High Commissioner Uaai for the good work he has undertaken in preparation for the Prime Minister’s first international visit to Kiribati, later this week.
Prime Minister Rabuka said his visit to Kiribati is a crucial step in strengthening the bilateral relations and historical ties between the two nations. More importantly it is also to seek Kiribati President Maamau’s counsel on the pressing issues for the Pacific region, prominent among them are climate change, oceans and economic resilience.
In response High Commissioner Uaai said that Kiribati looks forward to welcoming Prime Minister Rabuka for his official visit which, signifies the strong bonds of friendship and historical links between the two nations.
“The visit of Honourable Prime Minister of the Government of Fiji, His Excellency Sitiveni Rabuka would be a historical event in the history of Kiribati and a new chapter between Fiji and Kiribati.
“It will indeed patch up what Kiribati had endured, and certainly strengthen the bonds and the very friendly ties between the Government of Fiji and the Government of Kiribati. Last but not least, it will renew the relationships across our Pacific family that are so vital for our region development,” High Commissioner Uaai said.
Since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations in 1979, Fiji and Kiribati have enjoyed close friendly relations as members of the Pacific family.