Australia and Fiji have reaffirmed our two nations’ commitment to strengthening our defense relationship following a successful bilateral defense ministers’ meeting in Nadi today.
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, and Fiji’s Minister for National Security and Defence, the Hon Ratu Inoke Kubuabola MP, discussed our growing bilateral defence relationship and regional security interests.
The program included a meeting with Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto, and a tour of Fiji’s Blackrock peacekeeping training facility.
“Fiji is an important partner to Australia in the South Pacific and we have a long history of defense cooperation focused on maritime security, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peacekeeping,” Minister Payne said.
Minister Payne and Minister Kubuabola agreed to strengthen the Australia-Fiji defense relationship by establishing formal annual Australia-Fiji Defence Ministers’ meetings.
“I am pleased we are establishing a new Defence Ministerial Meeting between Australia and Fiji, as this further demonstrates our enduring commitment to deepening our defence relationship”, Minister Payne said.
Minister Payne also offered a package of support for Fiji’s Blackrock training facility, worth approximately $2 million, which Minister Kubuabola accepted. This package will further enhance our defense cooperation in the area of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief and peacekeeping.
“Supporting the Republic of Fiji Military Forces to construct a humanitarian supplies warehouse at its Blackrock training facility will enhance Fiji’s ability to respond to natural disasters and other humanitarian crises in Fiji and the region,” Minister Payne said.
“I was pleased to also offer the establishment of an Australian Defence Force (ADF) instructor position at the base to enhance the Republic of Fiji Military Forces’ peacekeeping capability.
“Australia appreciates the force protection role of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, for United Nations peacekeepers, including ADF personnel in the Golan Heights and Syria.”