Posts tagged Abu Dhabi

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s Speech at the Opening of Fijian Embassy in Abu Dhabi

Bula vinaka, as salaam wa leikum and good morning to you.

I bring you the good will and best wishes of my people from the Republic of Fiji on this historic occasion, as we join together to officially open Fiji’s Embassy in the United Arab Emirates.

I thank you all for your presence here today. It speaks volumes of your support for Fiji, a Pacific island nation that is more than 14, 000 kilometers from Abu Dhabi.

I wish to express my Government’s sincere gratitude for the goodwill and assistance provided by the Government of the United Arab Emirates in establishing our presence here. We are hopeful that the UAE will reciprocate and open an Embassy in Fiji in the near future.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The opening of Fiji’s Embassy today is the latest step in my Government’s commitment to expand our engagement with the rest of the world, in particular the Middle East.

We are a small country occupying a group of islands in the South Pacific, but we refuse to allow our size and geography to limit our possibilities or the contributions we can make to the world community. We are committed to be involved in finding solutions to international problems and to pursue productive and friendly relations with other nations.

We have volunteered to be an active member of the international community by sharing the burden of international peacekeeping. Many of you know how our small military has long stood shoulder to shoulder with militaries of much larger and more powerful nations to bring stability and peace to troubled regions.

And so, our peacekeepers have preceded us to this part of the world.  Hundreds of Fijian men and women from the Republic of Fiji Military Forcesand Fiji Police Force have been serving, with distinction, in many peace-keeping missions and related operations in the Middle East and North Africa since 1978.

But while service to the world community will continue to be a part of Fiji’s national ethos, we are also pursuing a more independent foreign policy.

  • One that is balanced to support our economic, development, and political interests;
  • That allows our voice—and the voice of Small Pacific Island States—to be heard and respected in international forums;
  • And that yields productive and friendly bilateral relations with other nations as we forge new friendships and strengthen existing ones.

Joining the Non-Aligned Movement and the Asia Group in the United Nations is a part of that strategy.  We have recently opened new diplomatic missions in South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, and the South Korea. And today we are proud to have a diplomatic home in the United Arab Emirates. This is our first embassy in the Arabian Gulf and our presence here reflects the influential—and very positive—role that this nation, this region, and the Arab people are playing in the world.

I am also proud that this embassy will provide consular and citizenship services to the many Fijians who live and work in this part of the world, including the families who live in the U.A.E., many of whom are here today. No government can forget its citizens, no matter where they are.

I pay tribute to this achievement and to the great leadership of this country, especially the father of this nation, the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nayhan. I also pay tribute to the strong, visionary leadership provided by the current President of the United Arab Emirates, Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan  and all the other rulers in your six other Emirates.

Some would say that you owe your success to oil. But in Fiji, we see that while many nations are blessed with natural riches, not all of them have used them as wisely as the United Arab Emirates. You have created not just wealth, but a modern nation state. Your seriousness of purpose, your wise management of your resources and economy, your investments, your foreign policy, and your embrace of innovation and technology is a testimony of your commitment to your people and your belief in preparing for the future.With this strategy you have in verylittle time made UAE an international crossroads of commerce and a nation that stands tall in the world.

You are an inspiration to us.

Today our nations will sign a double taxation agreement. This agreement will greatly benefit investors from the UAE and Fijian businesses wishing to engage with the UAE. It is just the first step to building greater cooperation, particularly in trade and investment. Fiji has outstanding trade and investment opportunities in tourism, manufacturing, agribusiness, timber, and mining.

Our location in the South-Pacific, coupled with modern infrastructure, telecommunications and financial services makes Fiji a natural hub for investment and for access to markets in our region.

This year, the Fijian economy is projected to grow by 2.3 percent.

Fiji also has the ability to offer many niche export products that are not available elsewhere in the world. We have been a leader in the Pacific for ensuring that our products comply with international standards. In addition, many of our products take advantage of our pristine environment.

My Government believes that transparency, stability and integrity must form the foundation of our economic development.

The presence of Fiji’s private sector with me today demonstrates the commitment of the Fijian people to broaden our trade and commercial relations.

Ladies and Gentlemen, my Government’s work to foster strong economic growth in Fiji has been accompanied by electoral and constitutional reforms. The successful launch of the Electronic Voter Registration (EVR) and the commencement of constitutional consultations confirm our commitment to the fundamental reform of our democratic and governmental institutions: to freeing ourselves from the corruption and the self-serving and divisive politics that, in the past, have stunted our economic growth and weakened our political structures.

This commitment to transparency, credibility and stability also provides a reassuring message to investors and the international community.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

The UAE has shown the world how development and economic growth can take place in a relatively short span of time for the benefit of your citizens through a focused vision and inspirational leadership.

With our formal presence in UAE from today, we look forward to learning from and working together with UAE and her people for the mutual benefit of both our nations.

I now have much pleasure in officially declaring open the Fijian Embassy to the United Arab Emirates.

Vinaka Vakalevu and shukran.