Fiji stands ready to provide support where we can within our means of course, whether it be through UN peace-keeping, combating illicit trade on the high seas, or providing humanitarian assistance to our neighbours in the Pacific.
This was the opening remarks made by the Speaker Hon. Ratu Epeli Nailatikau while hosting a United States of America Congressional delegation at a cocktail reception in Nadi early this week.
The delegation included Senator Richard Shelby, Senator Deb Fischer, Senator John Kennedy, Senator John Boozman and Senator Mike Crapo.
“Fiji and the US share similar social demographics and values, we both have multi-ethnic societies, share a commitment to democratic values and equal citizenry, and value close cooperation in international peacekeeping operations, regional security and economic development,” said Hon. Ratu Epeli.
“We acknowledge and value the contributions of the USA as a development partner for Fiji. We are grateful for the presence of USAID in the country and the regional projects that have assisted communities to access financing, build institutional capacity, and adapt to the impacts of extreme weather conditions, thereby improving food security and natural resource management.
“The USA has been among Fiji’s principal trading partners and is currently our biggest export market. Through our partnership under the U.S Pacific Islands Multilateral Tuna Fisheries Treaty, you have access to our fishery resources, and we enjoy access to your markets.
“These mutually beneficial arrangements help small Pacific Island countries to address socio-economic development issues and provide for the sustenance of their people.”
Hon. Ratu Epeli added the visit provided a great opportunity to strengthen the two countries’ bilateral relations.
“I do hope this will only be the beginning of many more fruitful high level visits and engagements between our two countries,” he said.
Meanwhile, the delegation was accorded a Fijian traditional welcome ceremony and also had the opportunity to hold bilateral meetings with the Minister for Defence, National Security and Foreign Affairs, Hon. Inia Seruiratu and his senior officials.