FIJIAN AMBASSADOR PRESENTS CREDENTIAL TO PRESIDENT OF LEBANON

Caption: Ambassador Robin Nair presents his Credentials to His Excellency, Michel Suleiman, President of the Republic of Lebanon.

Fiji?s resident envoy to the United Arab Emirates, Ambassador Robin Nair recently presented his credentials to the President of the Republic of Lebanon, His Excellency Michel Suleiman.

Ambassador Nair presented his credentials as Fiji?s first Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic and will serve as the non resident Ambassador from Abu Dhabi, in the UAE.

In his statement, Ambassador Nair conveyed the greetings from the President of the Republic of Fiji, His Excellency, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, who, he said, knows Lebanon well as the first Commander of the Fiji Batt in Lebanon, and added that Fiji?s presence in the Middle East began in Lebanon in 1978, under the Banner of UNIFIL as UN peace-keepers.

Ambassador Nair said that despite Fiji?s historic presence in the areas of peacekeeping, more attention will be given to areas that can strengthen relations between Fiji and the Middle East.

?We are remembered in the Middle East as a peace-keeping nation but, now Fiji wishes to be recognized also as a Hub of Commerce, Industry, Finance and Trading in the South Pacific region with stability and a most positive environment for investment, and business development in the Pacific Region?.

Ambassador Nair also acknowledged Lebanon?s pivotal role of in regional stability and economic development.

?Now that the formal relationship between the two countries has been sealed and endorsed, I encourage the world-renowned and resourceful Lebanese businessman and the private sector to explore business and investment opportunities in Fiji. Lebanon and Fiji?s current relationship would enable the establishment of partnerships and initiate discussion in mutual areas of interest like tourism, industrialization and agriculture,?as both countries have similar ambitions on progressive economic growth and infrastructure development?, Ambassador Nair said.

His Excellency President Michel Suleiman expressed his delight on this recent development and highlighted his gratitude to Fiji?s role in peacekeeping services.

?I am surprised that it has taken us this long for our two countries to be united more formally, when your people have been so well-known to us, helping our nation in need with world-renowned soldiers. I am very happy to welcome you and to thank your country, through you, for being always ready to come in harm?s way to preserve regional peace and stability.? Many of your young men have sacrificed their lives for our cause and lie buried in heroism, becoming a part parcel of our country. I look forward to strengthening our relations also through economic ties. Lebanese people are well-known for their entrepreneurship throughout the world and we would like to see more of them doing business in Fiji?.

Ambassador Nair also met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Monsieur Adnan MANSOUR and the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs HQ in Beirut. The Secretary General invited Fiji to use its presence in the region to attend Arab League Meetings, in order to be recognised more deeply in the region for Fiji?s contribution and leadership to international affairs and to the peace and stability in their region. The issues surrounding visas for our UN Peace-keepers were also discussed, initiating the need for a Visa Agreement between the two countries. This will also facilitate ease of travel for Traders and Investors to Fiji.

Ambassador Nair briefed the Foreign Ministry on the successful launch of Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) and its role in developing a roadmap to sustainable development of the region, through the green and blue economies. He said that Fiji was also keen to introduce its new development partners to the needs of the region as well through PIDF.

Ambassador Nair also met Mr Mohamed Choucair, the Chairman of Lebanon Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture and also the President of Middle Eastern Chambers of Commerce, with its membership reaching out to Chambers from the Greater Middle Eastern Region. Mr Choucair proposed a Memorandum of Understanding between the two Countries? Chambers to facilitate Trade and Investment, and enhance private sector involvement in Nation Building. He provided a template for such a MoU.

Ambassador Nair added that Fiji had stationed itself within reach and within the central theatres of Trade, Investment, Industrialization, Science and Technology in the Mediterranean region as well.? He also discussed with Mr Choucair Fiji?s desire to open a Honorary Consulate in Beirut.

Ambassador Nair was accompanied by Fiji?s Counsellor at the UAE Embassy Aliki Salusalu.

MINFO