The inaugural Fiji-Australia Defence Ministerial Meeting in Perth, Australia on Monday 16th December 2019 marked a significant milestone achievement in Fiji’s defence cooperation with Australia.
Fiji’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Defence and National Security Hon. Inia Seruiratu, was in Perth for the consultations at the invitation of his Australian counterpart and Minister for Defence, Hon. Linda Reynolds.
The meeting provided the perfect opportunity for the two Defence Ministers to discuss in detail on-going and emerging areas of priority for bilateral cooperation. With the signing of the Fiji-Australia Vuvale Partnership between Hon. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Hon. Prime Minister Scott Morrison in September this year, the two Ministers were keen to better coordinate and enhance cooperative arrangements in defence and security matters.
A visit was undertaken by the Ministers to Austal, where Fiji’s Guardian-class Patrol boats are being built. The first of the two Naval vessels, RFN Savenaca, is expected to be handed to Fiji in early 2020, which will serve to strengthen Fiji’s maritime security capability. Partnership in peacekeeping matters, defence cooperation generally, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, are equally important to both the countries.
Minister Seruiratu inspected Australia’s Counter Terrorism capability and facilities based in Perth. He also visited the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief facility in Brisbane at the end of the program as he returned to Fiji.
Australia and Fiji have a relationship built on long-standing senior level engagements, trainings, maritime security, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peacekeeping, which has culminated in the inaugural Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Perth.
Accompanying Minister Seruiratu to Perth were Fiji’s High Commissioner to Australia, Luke Daunivalu, Deputy Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Brigadier-General Aziz Mohammed, Deputy Secretary Defence, Ilai Moceica, and Deputy Secretary Foreign Affairs, Esala Nayasi.