FIJI AND INDONESIA JOIN FORCES TO COMBAT DRUG TRAFFICKING

Fiji and Indonesia have agreed to join forces in the global war against drugs.

The governments of the two nations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Denarau today that deepens their cooperation in combatting the trafficking of illegal drugs and substances in the Pacific Region.

The Minister for Defense and National Security, Joketani Cokanasiga, who signed the agreement on behalf of the Fijian Government, said that the MOU greatly enhances Fiji’s ability to secure its borders against the flow of illegal drugs.

“The agreement allows Fiji to make a larger contribution to international investigations by sharing information with the Indonesian security forces,” the Minister said.

The agreement was signed after a bilateral meeting between the Fijian Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, and the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who is in Fiji on a State Visit and to participate in the Second Summit of the Pacific Islands Development forum, which opens in Denarau tomorrow.

It was one of six MOUs signed by the two governments today in various fields to strengthen the cooperation between Fiji and Indonesia.

Agreements were signed on the topics of fisheries, small and medium enterprises, public works infrastructure, diplomatic training, youth and sports and visa exemption for diplomats.

During the bilateral meeting, Prime Minister Bainimarama took the opportunity to thank President Yudhoyono for Indonesia’s support of Fiji, including its agreement to co-lead the multinational group of observers for the 2014 General Election.

The Prime Minister said that President Yudhoyono is an inspiration to the people of Fiji for the way he has stood up to the forces of extremism in his country and has upheld the notion of ethnic and religious tolerance and harmony.

The Prime Minister updated the Indonesian president on preparations for the General Election and added that the Fijian Government regards the expansion of trading opportunities with Indonesia a major priority.