Government of the Republic of Fiji
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service
The Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs
The Hon Minister for Trade
The Dean of the Diplomatic Corp
Ladies and Gentlemen
Assalamu’alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh,
Peace be upon you with God’s grace and blessing.
Ni sa bula vinaka! Selamat siang!
It is a privilege indeed to be here in Jakarta to be part of this ceremonial opening of our first ever Fijian Embassy in Indonesia. May I thank the Government of Indonesia and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for affording me that opportunity noting how hectic your schedule is right now with other Dignitaries visiting at the same time.
For me and my Government, and the peoples of Fiji, this moment constitutes a turning point in the history of Fijian-Indonesian diplomatic relations; and can I also say, the rekindling of our shared history in the cultures of the Lapita. For these I have the pleasure today of sharing with your Excellencies and with the first resident Fijian Ambassador to Indonesia, currently Designate, Mr Seremaia Cavuilati.
The opening of this full-time and full-fledged Fijian Embassy in Jakarta occurs at an important juncture in the development of the relations between our countries. Indonesia is a valuable partner for Fiji both politically and economically.
The friendship between our peoples is deep rooted. They are founded on shared strategic interests in regional stability and prosperity. We are united by shared values and our hopes for a peaceful and prosperous future for all our people. Fiji and Indonesia are developing countries faced with the common tasks of boosting economic growth and improving people's living standards. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1974, we have been cooperating in many fields in various forms.
Over the recent years, with the concerted efforts of both sides, the friendly exchange and cooperation in political, economic, trade, cultural and other fields between our two countries have achieved great progress.
Trade between our countries stand at FJD$36 million in 2009 and Fiji exports to Indonesia has grown by 15% since 2007. Number of visitors from Indonesia to Fiji has grown steadily by 8% since 2007 and last year stood at 2818. Over 30 Fiji students have received training in Indonesia since 2002 under Indonesian training program. In fact the Second Secretary to our new Mission is a product of one of your Universities and quite conversant with Bahasa Indonesia.This positive trend in people to people contacts has resulted in the opening of a Consular Office in your Embassy in Suva last month. Last month also saw the first getting together in Suva of Foreign Ministry officials of both countries to hold a policy planning dialogue. I understand a follow up session is planned for Jakarta next year. All of these efforts have brought us closer.
There are however still many untapped opportunities. We need to encourage greater participation by our business communities. We need to promote a comprehensive dialogue between our business communities and governments to address various issues of mutual interests in our bilateral economic relations. In this regard I am happy to note that taking place next door to this event and as part of this opening is a gathering of Pacific and Indonesian business organizations doing just that – exploring areas of business opportunities.This new Embassy will be a forum where a lot of these undertakings will be nurtured and expanded and contribute to the further strengthening of the already existing friendly relations between our two countries and people.
It will also serve as a symbol of Fijian commitment to Indonesia. It will offer a fresh vision of Fiji, and act as an instrument of our friendship with Indonesia.
It will become a meeting point for Fijians and Indonesians in the country and in the region where representatives of the trade, investment, economic, cultural, business and tourism can work together to further Fijian-Indonesian relations.
It will be home to successive Fijian representatives who, I know, will share the commitment of Ambassador Cavuilati and his team to working alongside the people of Indonesia to strengthen the already existing friendly relations between our two countries and people.
This new mission acknowledges Indonesia’s strategic position in our region and signifies Fiji’s intensified approach to consolidate our Look North Policy, a vital component of my Government’s overall commitment to extending our reach and furthering our relations in more tangible ways to our friends in the international community of nations. Indonesia is now a nation increasingly engaged and influential in our region and on the global stage. A founding member of ASEAN, a leading member of NAM, a responsible member of the G-20, a fast-emerging economy, the world’s fourth most populous country, Indonesia has been called Southeast Asia’s strategically most important player, and the regional pivotal state.
My Government recognizes the significance of such attributes and their importance, not only to Fiji but to the Pacific region as a whole. It is for this reason that Fiji was instrumental in Indonesia, and might I add Timor Leste’s application to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group as Observers, which they just did for the first time a few days ago during the MSG Leaders’ Summit which I chaired. Establishing this Embassy will afford us that necessary engagement with the wider South East Asian region and greater opportunity to benefit directly from Indonesian perspectives and insights on these regions. It will also help enhance our direct engagement with South East Asia as a whole through contact with ASEAN, based here in Jakarta. In this regard I wish to acknowledge here the support given by the Government of Indonesia to our application to be an Observer with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
The presence of the Fiji Mission in Jakarta will boost Fiji’s reach in Asia to complement efforts already exerted by Fiji Missions in Tokyo, Beijing and Kuala Lumpur pursuant to Fiji’s overarching desire to reach out where it matters for our mutual benefits.
Indonesia has been a steady friend of Fiji since we began diplomatic relations more than 30 years ago. In this regard I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Indonesian Government for the understanding and support of Fiji’s political developments, and as of late our Roadmap to Parliamentary Democracy through my Government’s Strategic Framework for Change. As we plan for 2014 we will look to Indonesia and those of our friends who are able to assist us in putting together a credible electoral process as the Office of the Electoral Commission of Indonesia has been doing, in sharing their experience and proffering advice, guidance and support.
The Fiji Embassy in Jakarta speaks volume of the high regard we have for, and the critical importance of, our relations with Indonesia. It reflects the solid foundation that underpins our relations. It is a commitment to the future, and to the strengthening of that foundation for our peoples.
Fiji looks forward to working with Indonesia to create the promise of our common future. It will be one marked by a renewed sense of national confidence and self-esteem about who we are and our place in the world.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Allow me to conclude by thanking most sincerely the Government of the Republic of Indonesia, and on its behalf the Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs and his Ministry staff, both the Senior Executives and those of the Protocol and Consular Affairs Department for making it possible for Fiji to be located here in Jakarta and to make happen this historic moment, the establishment of our Mission.
I also acknowledge with gratitude the efforts of Indonesia’s Ambassador to Fiji, His Excellency Mr. Aidil Chandra Salim here present and his predecessors, and the diplomatic staff in Suva for their encouragement and support for our cause. The presence among us this morning of a small segment of the private sector representing the Pacific region is testimony of his hard work and commitment to Fiji and the region.
It would be remiss of me, and so I would also like to record, our appreciation to the Management and staff of the Menara Topas Building which houses our Mission for their willingness to accommodate us and for their facilitations.May this new Embassy become a lasting symbol of the values that our countries share, the more prosperous future that we seek, and the obligation we both have to our children and our grandchildren, that they may have the peace and the prosperity they so richly deserve.
I thank you all for gracing this occasion with your presence. To the Members of the Diplomatic Corp, may I wish you all meaningful tenures here in Indonesia and with it I express the hope that our Representative and his staff will be welcomed to your midst and every support given our new small Mission as together you tap into the richness and the bounty of this great country, Indonesia, and her peoples.
With these words, I am delighted, being my honor and privilege, to declare the Fiji Embassy in Jakarta officially open and to dedicate it to an ever closer relationship with the people and the Government of Indonesia.
Vinaka vakalevu, Terima kasih, and thank you all very much.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs P. O. Box 2220 Government Buildings Suva, Fiji