The Australian Government has reasserted its unwavering support and commitment to work closely with the Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Honourable Sitiveni Rabuka and the Fiji Government in building a new chapter in the Vuvale Partnership.
The was articulated yesterday (16/1/2023) at an introductory call to Prime Minister Rabuka from the Chargé d’affaires of the Australian High Commission in Fiji, Mr John Williams.
He was accompanied to the meeting by the Deputy High Commissioner of the Australian High Commission Mr Paul Wilson and First Secretary Political Mr Malcolm Paterson.
Prime Minister Rabuka thanked Mr Williams and his team for the opportunity to discuss issues of importance to Fiji-Australia and the Blue Pacific Continent. He conveyed his heartfelt appreciation to the Australian Government for the enormous support they have provided to Fiji and the Pacific, over the years.
Prime Minister Rabuka commended the Australian Prime Minister Honourable Anthony Albanese MP for his exemplary leadership and commitment to work closely with Fiji in strengthening the economies of the two nations as they aspire to recover progressively from the pandemic, advance defence and security partnership, economic cooperation, actions to tackle climate change and protect the oceans and the environment for the future generations.
Prime Minister Rabuka thanked Prime Minister Albanese for the invitation to visit Canberra this year and he looks forward to taking up the offer to further strengthen the levels of cooperation and friendship between the two nations.
In his capacity as the new Chair for the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), Prime Minister Rabuka said he will serve to the best of his ability to reunite the region with the Pacific family’s best interest at heart of every action.
Prime Minister Rabuka reaffirmed his commitment to find a way to bring Kiribati back to the Forum family and nurture the regional solidarity.
In doing so, he intends to travel to Kiribati to meet Kiribati’s President, His Excellency Taneti Maamau for bilateral discussions, this Friday 20 January, 2023.
Prime Minister Rabuka acknowledged Australia’s continued support to the Forum family, and he is confident that together Fiji and Australia will create new opportunities to empower and uplift the lives of the communities in Fiji, Pacific and beyond.
In response, the Chargé d’affaires of the Australian High Commission, Mr John Williams said he was honoured to call on Prime Minister Rabuka to congratulate him personally on his election as the Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji.
“I reaffirmed the congratulations and best wishes offered by Prime Minister Albanese during the two leaders’ telephone call on New Years’ Day, and how much we were looking forward to a visit this year by Prime Minister Rabuka as a guest of the Australian Government.
“Australia looks forward to working closely with Prime Minister Rabuka and his Government to build a new chapter in our Vuvale Partnership with Fiji.
“In our initial meetings with Prime Minister Rabuka and his Ministers, we have been listening carefully to understand their priorities for Fiji, for our bilateral partnership and for our shared Blue Pacific,” Mr Williams said.
He emphasised that Australia also values Fiji’s ongoing work as Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum and will support Prime Minister Rabuka in this important regional role.