Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister, Immigration and Sugar Industry and Acting Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mr Yogesh Karan received a courtesy call from Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Mr. Ignacio Tapia Garcia of the Embassy of Spain, yesterday.
In congratulating Mr. Garcia for his new diplomatic appointment, PS Karan said Fiji is confident that its relations with Spain will continue to strengthen in all areas of cooperation for the mutual benefit of the two nations. PS Karan thanked Spain for its cooperation in the areas of climate change, renewable energy and fisheries.
He also acknowledged Spain’s contribution to the European Development Fund (EDF) which has supported Fijian projects in many areas. “There is a lot of opportunity to work together with Spain in addressing multilateral issues of mutual interest to our countries.
Now, more than ever, we need all countries to strengthen their commitment to multilateralism. Fiji is of the view that this is the only way we can sustainably resolve our challenges together, including COVID-19,” PS Karan said.
In response Mr. Garcia said, “It was a fruitful meeting where we had the opportunity to exchange views on our shared interests, mainly climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and multilateral organisations.
We also identified new areas of engagement to explore in the future. “Spain established a permanent office in Fiji six years ago and is now one of the only two EU member states with permanent representation in Suva. “This reflects our commitment to Fiji and to the Pacific Region as well as our willingness to find new ways to strengthen our mutual relation,” Mr. Garcia said.
He also commended the Fijian Government’s swift and effective response to contain COVID-19. “We addressed opportunities for mutual cooperation in new challenges such as vaccination and the safe restart of international tourism.
“We share with Fiji our commitment to multilateralism and we work very closely with many international organisations, peacekeeping missions and global engagements. On this shared endeavor Spain and Fiji are partners in the fight against climate change, in an active climate action, in the promotion and protection of Human Rights, international peace and stability and many more aspects of our multilateral world.”
He said the meeting provided an opportunity to discuss potential initiatives encouraged by Spain at UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to facilitate a safe and organised restart of tourism, a field of the utmost importance for both Fiji and Spain. Mr. Garcia also congratulated Fiji for its assumption of the Presidency of the Human Rights Council (UNHRC).