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   Government of the Republic of Fiji

  Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service

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Media Release

Prime Minister's address at Closing of Heads of Missions Consultations

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Commodore J.V. Bainimarama, CF(Mil), OSt.J, MSD, jssc, psc

Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics, Public Service, Peoples Charter for Change and Progress, Information, i-Taukei Affairs, Provincial Development, Sugar Industry, Lands and Mineral Resources


ADDRESS AT THE FAREWELL DINNER FOR HEADS OF MISSIONS HOSTED BY THE PRIME MINISTER


Convention Centre Fri. 17th Feb., 2012, Lami, 1930 Hours


Honourable Cabinet Ministers;

Excellencies and Members of the Diplomatic Corp;

Fiji’s Heads of Missions;

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen. Good evening and welcome to you all.

I wish to first take this opportunity to thank you for availing yourselves to be present this evening. 

At the outset, I must commend the efforts of the Minister and staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, over the successful Heads of Missions Consultations held, over the last three days.  Thank you and well done.We all have an important role to play in shaping Fiji’s global image.  Our role has evolved beyond the traditional responsibilities of promoting Fiji’s interests in the international arena and fulfilling our obligations to Conventions.

In this regard, we must be committed to strengthening relations with old friends but not be bound so as to be subordinate to them. We must always be mindful of our sovereignty and seek to engage on equal terms.

We must also continue to establish new relations with countries that choose to recognize and understand our reforms, and are genuine in their engagement with us.

Modern day diplomacy is not just about politics, but a greater emphasis is now placed on trade and economic progress. 

Therefore, I urge you all to be innovative and open minded about your engagement with our foreign partners. Be forward thinking and sensitive to the changing dynamics of foreign diplomacy. 

I note with concern that our Missions currently do not have KPI’s. It is my intent that each Mission be measured according to set KPI’s and a more focused approach on diplomatic relations with your host country is adopted, to ensure maximum returns for our people.

The challenges ahead will require your most innovative diplomatic efforts. We cannot sit back and expect opportunities to present themselves. We must create our own opportunities. We must take the initiative and create an enabling environment for those interested in Fiji. This, we entrust with you, our representatives to the world at large. 

Since 2006, our foreign relations and its conduct have matured.  As our efforts in nation building moves to new levels, the lessons learnt and our experiences will guide us in setting the new basis of how we will conduct bilateral and multilateral relations in the future.   Fiji’s bilateral and regional relations will have to be on new footing based on current global realities.  

The commitments set out under the Peoples Charter clearly protects the interests and aspirations of our people.   It endorses the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity as espoused under international law.

We have of course broken new grounds in the implementation of the Peoples Charter for Change, Peace and Progress, particularly on Pillar 11.   This week, we have made significant inroads in the discussion of our foreign policy direction, which confirms Fiji’s steadfast commitment to becoming a good, engaged and responsible global citizen.  

I would now like to congratulate and thank you all for the work you have done so far and assure you that you have the support of Government as you continue to progress our interests in the wider world.

As we prepare to commence consultations on our new constitution in the build up to 2014 elections, I remain positive that the processes undertaken will serve as an indication, of our genuine commitment, to a truly transparent, and sustainable, democratic Fiji. This I assure you will be an enabler for you all in your diplomatic engagements with the wider global community. 

As you prepare to leave for your respective Missions, I encourage you all to remain firm in our collective efforts to build a better, peaceful and prosperous and modern Fiji.I wish you all an enjoyable evening.

Vinaka.