“Today with your safe return, I want to make clear our condemnation of the terrorist attack by Hamas which targeted innocent non-combatants and resulted in continuing loss of life. We also stand with Israel. Israel has the right to defend itself and its people.”
This was the heartfelt message shared by Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka this morning while welcoming 198 Fiji nationals and 48 fellow Pacific and international Pilgrims who had been safely evacuated from Israel.
The Prime Minister expressed immense joy and gratitude for their safe return, invoking a sense of blessing and unity within Fiji. He also commended the pilgrims for their unwavering faith and cooperation throughout the process.
“Today, I stand with all Fijians to commend the valor, sacrifice, and tireless efforts of all who organised the daring but well-planned and executed repatriation of our fellow citizens and pilgrims possible, amidst the ongoing strife in Israel.”
“I say well planned and executed because this was a Labour of Love.”
The Prime Minister praised the valor and sacrifice and the meticulously planned repatriation mission, orchestrated by Fiji Airways amidst the ongoing strife in Israel, particularly the pilots, for their courage and world-class expertise in undertaking this historic mission in an uncertain situation.
“Fiji Airways was able to fly this A330 into the David Ben Gurion International Airport (under the protection of Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’) on 10th October with a turnaround time of only 2 hours and whisk our people to safety.”
“The well-coordinated and targeted mission to rescue our citizens and fellow pilgrims underscores your government’s commitment to the well-being of Fijian nationals.”
“We express our profound gratitude to our diplomatic missions in New York, Canberra, and Abu Dhabi, the international diplomatic community, and our dedicated team here in Fiji. They tirelessly negotiated, made calls, and facilitated all that was needed to bring our people home.”
The Prime Minister stressed a peaceful resolution and de-escalation of the conflict, emphasising Fiji’s commitment to pursuing diplomatic, non-violent solutions to conflicts in line with the Pacific’s “Zone of Peace” initiative.