The United States of America yesterday signed a landmark agreement with Fiji to enhance the bilateral engagements in the areas of Defence and Security.
The Defense, International Military Education and Training (IMET) Agreement was effected yesterday between the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister, Immigration and Sugar Industry and Acting Permanent Secretary Foreign Affairs, Mr Yogesh Jitendra Karan and United States Ambassador to Fiji His Excellency, Joseph James Cella.
A longstanding agreement on IMET that was first exchanged in 1986 allows Fiji to send officers and senior personnel to professional military education and leadership development courses in the United States.
Ambassador Cella in his remarks said that the signing signifies the common aspirations and commitment that United States and Fiji shares on defence and security.
“It is my first such agreement to sign and am honored to do so with you as it builds and expands on our existing relationship and agreement with Fiji across all branches of our military service.
“It will surely assist in ensuring that we remain vigilant in the defence of peace and certainly an auspicious occasion as it comes as Fiji celebrates its 50th year of independence and we look forward to building on this in the future,” Ambassador Cella said.
In his response, PS Karan thanked the Government of United States and acknowledged Ambassador Cella and the US Embassy Suva for their swift assistance in the realisation of the agreement.
He stated that the agreement will ultimately deepen the existing partnership between Fiji and the United States, not just in defence but also in other key development priorities that the two nations will pursue.
“Fiji is grateful for the assistance that is being accorded by the United States in our defence cooperation as it further strengthens the bilateral relations that exist between the two countries. We look forward to working with and learning from you,” PS Karan said.