Fiji’s commitment in reaching out to our Australian
‘Vuvale’ in response to the bushfire rebuilding efforts have been commended by
the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

This has been in recognition of the work
carried out by the 54-member engineering contingent of the Republic of Fiji
Military Forces (RFMF) deployed to Australia to assist with the recovery
efforts.

As the Vuvale Partnership culminates into
unprecedented cooperation, the official visit by the Minister for Foreign
Affairs, Defence and Security, Inia Seruiratu to Australia on Monday this week
paves the way forward for strengthening engagements with the Australian Defence
Force.

The visit undertaken upon the invitation
from the Australian Defence Department was also an opportunity for Minister
Seruiratu to meet the Fijian Troops and with the senior officials of the
Australian Defence Force. The meeting followed a tour of Australian and
International Defence facilities and programs in Victoria.

Chief of the Australian Defence Force,
General Angus Campbell expressed gratitude and appreciation to Fiji for its
remarkable support to Australia in its efforts to restoring lives and
rebuilding communities. He spoke highly of the work carried out by the Fijian
Troops in diligently supporting the Australian Defence Force to operationalize
its rebuilding efforts.

Minister Seruiratu was welcomed by General
Campbell, at 34 Squadron VIP Terminal, RAAF Base Fairbairn, Canberra before
flying into RAAF Base East Sale in Victoria. Minister Seruiratu’s meeting with
the Australian Defence Forces resonated Fiji and Australia’s commitment to
enhance cooperation opportunities in building resilience and in pursing the
unified vision for regional and global peace, security and prosperity.

After the briefing at RAAF Base East Sale,
Minister Seruiratu was flown to Orbost, Victoria to meet with the Fijian troops
who were delighted to meet with him. The troops briefed him on various
rebuilding activities that they have been working on with ADF now for a few
weeks.

Minister Seruiratu conveyed the well wishes
of Fijian Prime Minister, Hon. Voreqe Bainimarama and the Fijian people and
thanked them sincerely for their unprecedented commitment to selfless service
provided to our “Vuvale”, Australia at its greatest time of need.

Minister Seruiratu said that Fiji is proud
of the impressive achievements of the Fijian Troops. He stated that this
collaboration testifies to the resilient spirit and unbreakable friendship of
the Australian and Fijian people. Minister Seruiratu also thanked the
Australian Defence Force for its support given to the
Fijian Troops as they together aspired toassist with
Australia’s rebuilding efforts.

The response by Fiji in deploying the Fijian
troops is in accordance with the Vuvale Partnership which, is the foundation of
Fiji and Australia’s cooperation in many development areas. The swift
communication between the two nations is a demonstration of the strong
partnership that has been ably supported by the Defence Teams and High
Commissions of both Australia and Fiji.

Minister Seruiratu was accompanied by the
Counsellor at the Fiji High Commission, Ms Salote Tagivakatini and the Senior
officials of the Australian Defence Force during the day tour.
 

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