1. The President of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, paid a State Visit to Fiji on 17-20 June 2014 at the invitation of the Government of Fiji. The visit marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The visit was successful and productive in promoting deeper bilateral partnership and regional cooperation.
2. President Yudhoyono and President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau had a tête-à-tête meeting. President Nailatikau said the occasion was significant because it was the first ever State visit to Fiji by the President of the Republic of Indonesia and also a first for the Pacific. The two Presidents were pleased that in the past 40 years, relations between the two countries have developed from strength to strength and great potential exists for further growth in the relationship. As Island countries in the Pacific, and sharing common Melanesian cultural background and heritage, both countries are committed to promoting bilateral cooperation with a view to seizing opportunities and addressing common challenges.
3. President Yudhoyono had a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Josaia Bainimarama in which the two Leaders engaged in discussion on areas of common concern. Both Leaders underlined their commitments to strengthen cooperation in various fields, such as democracy, economy, culture, education and training and regional and global issues.
4. During the visit, President Yudhoyono also attended the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) Second Leaders Meeting as Chief Guest.
STRENGTHENING OF BILATERAL COOPERATION
5. President Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Bainimarama expressed their satisfaction in the strong commitment and the existing solid and growing bilateral infrastructure for bilateral relations. While reaffirming both countries’ partnership through development cooperation, both Leaders underscored the importance of working continuously to realize the objectives stipulated in the Framework Agreement for Development Cooperation signed in 2011.
6. Prime Minister Bainimarama highlighted that the Government of Fiji’s decision to establish the Fiji Mission in Jakarta on 11 April 2011 was to recognise the Government’s pursuit of the Look North Policy. He further stated that since the establishment of the mission three years ago, the two heads of government were now in Fiji reflecting on what their officials have managed to achieve. This would also be an opportunity for them to map out what they could further pursue together for the strengthening of their relations for the sake of the people they serve.
7. The Leaders reaffirmed the principle of equality and their support for their respective sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
8. On maritime cooperation, the two Leaders committed to promoting eco-tourism, combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, marine conservation, and enhancing capacity building cooperation useful for the two sides. As part of common efforts to enhance food security, Fiji and Indonesia agreed to collaborate closer on the processing/canning of fish products including by enhancing the participation of their respective small and medium enterprises. Both Leaders were pleased with the signing by the two countries of the MoU on Marine and Fishery Cooperation to promote many aspects of maritime cooperation.
9. The two Leaders shared the importance of bilateral cooperation to promote democracy and good governance. They noted that their countries are holding elections this year, which are important for the strengthening of their democratic processes. They welcomed the Bali Democracy Forum as an avenue to share experiences, facilitate ongoing capacity building program, and the exchange of visits of observers for their respective elections in 2014.
10. The Leaders encouraged exchange of visits of their parliamentarians. In this context, President Yudhoyono expressed appreciation for the warm hospitality extended to the Indonesian Parliamentary Delegation during their visit to Fiji in April this year.
11. The two heads of government underlined the importance of building connectivity, cultural cooperation, and people-to-people contacts between the two countries. In this regard, the two Leaders expressed their appreciation for education scholarships and various technical cooperation schemes between Fiji and Indonesia.
12. Both Leaders expressed their satisfaction on the signing of MoUs during the Indonesian President’s visit to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in the areas of youth and sports; marine and fisheries; diplomatic education and training; visa exemption for holders of diplomatic passports; urban development, housing and environment; and in combating illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors. Prime Minister Bainimarama added that the signed MOUs once implemented, should set in motion closer and more direct collaboration between the Ministries concerned to strengthen their cooperation.
13. Prime Minister Bainimarama acknowledged the assistance rendered to the Government of Fiji by the Republic of Indonesia through the latter’s South-South Cooperation Program, technical assistance and capacity building programs. He further added that these have been delivered in the primary sectors of agriculture, fisheries and forests, with far-reaching implications to the socio-economic upliftment of the well being of Fiji’s women and youth, particularly in rural Fiji. Such assistance, he stated provided an added boost to Fiji’s policy of reducing import bill and increased local production and employment particularly in the rural areas.
14. Prime Minister Bainimarama thanked the Indonesian Government for its support towards the Republic of Fiji’s preparation to the National Elections and also provided an update on the progress towards the election. The 2014 National Elections will feature true universal suffrage with the Government of Fiji adhering to the principle of ‘one person, one vote’.
REGIONAL AND GLOBAL COOPERATION
15. Both Leaders agreed to continue the two countries’ close cooperation in regional and global fora to enhance peace, security and prosperity.
16. President Yudhoyono expressed appreciation for Fiji’s active role in promoting closer ties and cooperation, among others, through the MSG, G-77 and PIDF. In this regard, President Yudhoyono also commended Fiji’s central role in the MSG and appreciated Fiji’s role during the MSG Foreign Ministers visit to Indonesia in January this year. Both Leaders also encouraged closer and stronger cooperation involving the secretariats of ASEAN, MSG and PIDF.
17. Prime Minister Bainimarama commended Indonesia’s active and constructive roles in regional and international diplomacy to promote peace, stability and prosperity through important fora such as ASEAN, ARF, East Asia Summit, NAM, OIC, APEC, G20 and the UN. Prime Minister Bainimarama also expressed his support to Indonesia which will host the Sixth UN Alliance of Civilizations Global Forum in Bali 28–30 August 2014 and for Indonesia’s chairmanship of Indian Ocean Rim Association in 2015-2017.
18. Prime Minister Bainimarama acknowledged the generous monetary donation that the Government of Indonesia afforded for the Melanesian Group of countries by way of support for their Regional Police Academy headquartered in Fiji. This he stated envisaged a coming together and meeting of the minds so as to facilitate closer collaboration between Indonesia and the MSG.
19. Both Leaders agreed to promote peace keeping cooperation between the two countries. As Fiji plays an active role in various UN peace keeping missions, President Yudhoyono invited Fiji to share experiences and to participate in the Indonesia Peace and Security Centre.
20. Prime Minister Bainimarama appreciated Indonesia’s invitation to Fiji to observe the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF) as their closer cooperation in this forum would contribute positively to the preservation of marine life in the Pacific region.
21. Prime Minister Bainimarama also welcomed and thanked Indonesia’s generous offer for a set of capacity building programs for Pacific Island Countries, which will be designed in accordance with the priorities and national developments of PIDF countries, for the next five years.
22. The two Leaders expressed satisfaction with the results of President Yudhoyono’s visit, which took place under an atmosphere of mutual understanding and a spirit of friendship and cooperation.
23. President Yudhoyono expressed his appreciation to the Government of Fiji for the warm welcome and generous hospitality extended to the Indonesian delegation during his visit to Fiji. President Nailatikau reciprocated by reiterating the Republic of Fiji’s meaningful engagement and continued genuine partnership with the Republic of Indonesia.