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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

Fiji Ministers attend PSIDS Meeting with Russia and Cuba

 cokanasiga

23 September 2011, New York: Minister of Defense, Mr Joketani Cokanasiga (pictured), represented Fiji at the Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS) meeting with Russia in New York yesterday.  The Russia-PSIDS ministerial meeting was attended by the Russian Foreign Minister, Mr Sergey Lavrov.

The PSIDS are the independent nations of the Pacific Islands, with resident Missions at the United Nations, namely Fiji, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.  The Russian Foreign Minister said he was very pleased to have the opportunity of meeting with Leaders and Foreign Ministers from the PSIDS it was agreed by consensus to repeat the meeting's format in the years ahead.

Russia expressed its interest in cooperating with the PSIDS in areas of investment, minerals, energy, tourism, education and medicine.  The PSIDS delegations to the meeting welcomed Russia's interest in growing links between Russia and the PSIDS.

Minister Cokanasiga called for Russia to consider establishing a resident embassy in one of the PSIDS with a view to better covering the region.  Minister Lavrov said this was a point well taken.

The Cuba-PSIDS meeting took the form of a working luncheon at which Cuba was led by Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla.  Fiji was represented by Minister of Health, Dr Neil Sharma.  Discussions centered mainly on Cuba's medical assistance to the PSIDS, under which students from Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Tonga and Vanuatu are studying in Cuba on Cuban medical scholarships.

The Cuba-PSIDS Ministerial Meeting was a continuation of the annual gathering held in New York in the margins of the UN General Assembly.  Fiji's Ministers were accompanied to both meetings by Fiji's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Peter Thomson.