Caption:The Fijian Minister for Foreign Affairs and the New Zealand Defence Minister during talks in Suva today.Photo:SUPPLIED.
Suva, Fiji, Dec 17, 2014- Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola today met with New Zealand’s Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee in a bid to strengthen the bilateral relations and defence cooperation between the two countries.
Minister Kubuabola reassured New Zealand that Fiji was committed to normalizing its bilateral relations and re-engagement.
He said the meeting was a positive move and informed Minister Brownlee that Fiji would be looking forward to the renewal of this cooperation.
The resumption of this cooperation will also signal the full removal of the sanctions imposed on Fiji.
With arising security challenges, Minister Kubuabola believed there was a real need for enhanced engagement on defence and security.
He appreciated NZ’s active role in promoting disarmament and non- proliferation.
The two Ministers acknowledged their shared commitment to regional and world security by providing peacekeepers in troubled areas around the world.
They agreed that both Fiji and New Zealand are coastal States with vast maritime boundaries, which needed constant surveillance especially with the rise of illegal fishing.
Minister Kubuabola thanked the New Zealand Army for the ongoing military assistance in terms of search and rescue as well as humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
He expressed Fiji’s appreciation on the capacity building initiatives provided by New Zealand in areas of disaster relief, humanitarian cooperation, maritime security and transnational crime.
Minister Kubuabola saluted the 31 brave sons of New Zealand who were interred here at the Fiji National War Memorial in Suva.
Fiji and New Zealand shared a close relationship dated back World War I when the Royal New Zealand Air Force operated a base at Suva Point until they withdrew in 1964.