FIJI NEWS SUMMARY- 18/03/13

1 PRIME MINISTER MEETS WITH RUSSIAN ENVOY & PNG GRAND CHIEF

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama met today with the Ambassador for the Russian Federation to Fiji, His Excellency Vladimir Morozov.

The nonresident ambassador to Fiji met the Prime Minister this morning at his office in Government Buildings in Suva. Their meeting looked at ways of strengthening the Fiji-Russia relations.

Following this meeting, Prime Minister Bainimarama also met with Papua New Guinea?s Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare at his office this afternoon.

Sir Michael is in the country attending the Melanesian Spearhead Group Silver Jubilee celebrations currently underway in Suva.

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2 MSG MUST BE UNDERSTANDING TO FIJI?S POLITICAL TRANSITION

The Melanesian Spearhead Group must provide understanding and support that Fiji requires to navigate through its political challenges via the Strategic Framework for Change.

Those were the sentiments of former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister and chief guest at the MSG silver jubilee celebrations in Suva today, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare.

Grand Chief Sir Michael said that Fiji is almost at the end of the process on the new Constitution aimed at restoring democracy.

?The Fiji government requires our patience and the Fiji people deserve our trust in their judgement,? Sir Michael said.

?Whatever the end product, it is for Fiji and its people to decide and no one else. We must respect this.?

The former Prime Minster of PNG also added that he had no doubt in the wisdom of Fiji?s leaders and its citizens to arrive at a responsible outcome.

?I have also pleaded with our friends at the Pacific Forum and the Commonwealth to show patience, compassion and understanding on Fiji and not exclude her from their membership,? Sir Michael said.

 

Sir Michael Somare was accorded a full traditional iTaukei ceremony of welcome at the University of the South Pacific in the presence of Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, Cabinet Ministers and members of Fiji?s diplomatic corps.

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3 FIJI’S ROLE IN MSG AFFAIRS COMMENDED

Fiji offers additional substance to the Melanesian Spearhead Group and the MSG as a grouping offers a good conduit for greater cooperation and development amongst Melanesian people said Papua New Guinea’s Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare.

 

Sir Michael Somare who is in the country for the MSG Silver jubilee celebrations said that this was an opportune time to reflect on where the MSG has come from as an organisation and to “take stock of what we have done and assess the current emerging challenges amongst other things”.

 

?We owe it to the people of Melanesian to keep the MSG relevant and Fiji is an appropriate place to discuss matters of regional and sub-regional cooperation,? Sir Michael said.

 

?Its leaders have willingly accepted responsibility for many cooperative arrangements between Pacific peoples.?

 

Highlighting new proposals to strengthen the MSG , the former Prime Minister of PNG said that he was aware of discussions under the ambit of the Review of the Agreement Establishing the MSG and the strengthening of MSG Cooperation considered by the Special Foreign Ministers last year under Fiji?s chairmanship.

 

?The crux of our challenge is to ensure that our focus is streamlined and the necessary political will and resources are provided to bring fruition these ideas,? Sir Michael said.

 

?The truth is that all good initiatives will come to naught if the political will is not there and member governments are not prepared to pay for the costs. In other words, MSG will only succeed in its efforts if its members allow it to.?

 

The MSG silver jubilee celebrations will come to an end this Wednesday.

 

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4 FIJI TO HOST 13TH ACP MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON SUGAR

 

Fiji will host the 13th ACP Ministerial Conference on Sugar from the 14th ? 17th of October 2013. This will be the fourth time for Fiji to host the ACP Ministerial Conference on Sugar.

 

Cabinet recently approved the hosting of this Conference following a submission by the Prime Minister and Minister for Sugar, which was presented by the Attorney ? General, Mr Aiyaz Sayed ? Khaiyum.

 

The Attorney General said that it will be an important meeting for all ACP sugar supplying States including Least Developed Countries, in charting the way forward in order to gain the maximum benefit and prepare the industries given that the real prospects for further erosion of trade preferences for sugar and the possibility that the market management measures in place in the EU would come to an end in 2020.

 

He said that the 13th Conference will primarily focus on the future of preferential sugar arrangements in the context of the reform of the EU Common Agricultural Policy – Post 2013, the implementation of the Accompanying Measures Support Programme, the status of the ACP Sugar Research and Innovation Programme and collaboration among the ACP sugar producing countries and other key global sugar players.

 

He further said that, the EU sugar market remains an important preferential market for several ACP/LDC sugar exporters, including Fiji, and the ACP Sugar Group has therefore consistently reiterated that appropriate policy tools are essential to ensure stable, predictable and remunerative markets for EU producers and ACP suppliers.

 

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5 CABINET ENDORSES SIGNING AND RATIFICATION OF INTERPOL TRAVEL DOCUMENTS INITIATIVE

 

The Fijian Government will sign and ratify the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) Travel Documents Initiative (ITDI).

 

The ITDI is in a form of e-Passport Booklet and e-Identification Card to enable INTERPOL officials to travel internationally on official INTERPOL businesses without requiring a visa.

 

Cabinet based its decision on a submission by the Minister for Defence, National Security and Immigration, Mr Joketani Cokanasiga.

 

The Minister said that the ITDI was developed by the INTERPOL General Secretariat in the pursuit to enhance travel of INTERPOL officials across borders, on official INTERPOL business without requiring a visa when assisting in transnational investigations or urgent deployments.

 

He said that the INTERPOL Travel Document bypasses the lengthy visa requirements set by member countries, allowing quick entry to law enforcement officials.

 

Once Fiji ratifies the ITDI, the Minister for Defence, National Security and Immigration, in exercising his prerogative under the respective Immigration Laws can invoke powers to exempt officials listed under the Interpol Agreement should Fiji ratify the Interpol Travel Document.

 

INTERPOL connects all international Police organizations through its 1-24/7 global network to building a safer world in establishing strong partnerships, initiate innovation and capacity building in the fighting and prevention of economic and hi-tech crimes, exchanging experience amongst INTERPOL member countries, as well as deploying INTERPOL’S programs and plans in the context of globalization and integration.

 

INTERPOL Fiji is part of the East Asia-Pacific region block including Thailand, Samoa, Australia, Singapore, Timor Leste, PNG, Marshall Islands, Tonga, and American Samoa etc. Tonga and Marshall Island have been listed amongst other countries for non-contribution of annual levies.

 

Fiji joined the INTERPOL in 1971.

 

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6 Cabinet Approves MOU Between the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji And National Transport Authority Of The United Arab Emirates

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Cabinet has approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) and the National Transport Authority (NTA) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

 

The MOU will allow the National Transport Authority of the UAE to recognize and endorse the Certificates issued by MSAF to Fijian Seafarers. There are approximately 500 Fijian Seafarers onboard Foreign Flag Ships.

 

Cabinet based its decision on a submission by the Minister for Works, Transport and Public Utilities, Captain (N) Timoci Lesi Natuva.

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Fiji is a signatory to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (IMO STCW Convention 1978), which establishes the basic requirements on training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers on an international level.

 

The STCW 1978 has been amended in 1995 and again under the Manila Amendments of 2010.

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The Minister said that the MOU will allow UAE?s National Transport Authority to recognize and endorse Certificates issued by MSAF provided the training and assessment of the Fijian Seafarers are administered and monitored in accordance with the (IMO STCW Convention 1978) and the relevant amendments of 1995 and 2010.

 

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7 NEW TRAINERS FOR YOUTH PROGRAM

 

Government?s ‘Seeds of Success’ empowerment programme continues to gain popularity following the training of new program trainers.

 

Spearheaded by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the programme introduces various methods of empowerment skills including training for Fiji?s youth population.

 

The Ministry?s permanent secretary Mr Josefa Sania recently opened a five day training program for new trainers and highlighted that there is room for more trainings in the future.

 

“The programme that has been delivered to hundreds of young people throughout the country needs a pool of high quality external trainers,” Mr Sania said.

 

“We have found out that the ‘Seeds of Success’ Programme is one of the programmes that is well suited to prepare our youths to become better citizens of tomorrow?, he explained.

 

In November last year, the Seeds of Success program was identified at the United Nations Regional Pacific Child Protection meeting as a driving force towards addressing Fiji?s child protection country plan.

 

Mr Sania also pointed out that a stronger interest from stakeholders and various communities demonstrate a growing desire to empower young people. He pointed out that this was also an indication of the success of this progamme and its effectiveness in empowering Fiji?s youth population.

 

Trainers for the ‘Seeds of Success’ programme have been identified and selected and new nineteen trainers are expected to receive certificates at the end of the five day training.