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Fiji’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola (left) with representatives of Pacific Small Island Developing States in New York. Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi is seated fifth from left and Peter Thomson, Fiji’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations, is seated (obscured), second from right. Photo: MINISTRY OF INFORMATION
A three-hour talanoa session around a bowl of grog at the Fiji Mission in New York has strengthened Fijian-Samoan relations.
Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has previously been known for his criticism of the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe –led Government. However at the meeting he was in a jovial mood.
There at the invite of the Minister for Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, to settle the issue of the Pacific hosting of the Third SIDS Global Conference in 2014, a totally new atmosphere was seen and felt at the Fiji Mission. Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Peter Thomson, said the discussion was informal and in the true Pacific Way.
“The three hour informal discussions covered topics ranging from strategies for the Alliance of Small Island States’ and climate change concerns, to the pressing issues that would be confronting PSIDS during the UN’s 67th session,” Mr Thomson said.
He said the informal discussion was very lively as it was conducted in the real Pacific Way.
“I fact it was a very fruitful informal discussion.”
The leaders, he said, were welcomed in the Fijian traditional way, performed by the Fijian diplomats.
After the welcome ceremony Ratu Inoke told the gathering that in the spirit of solidarity amongst PSIDS, Fiji had decided to support Samoa to be the host of the Third SIDS Global Conference in 2014.
The Prime Minister of Samoa in his response thanked Fiji for its support and understanding.
“I must thank Fiji for its support and understanding and I assure you all that Samoa will make every effort to hold a conference which all PSIDS will be proud of,” Prime Minister Tuilaepa said.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa stressed the solidarity of PSIDS work at the UN and congratulated Fiji, in particular, for it being elected to the 2013 chair of the Group of 77 and China
Present at the meeting were President Anote Tong of the Republic of Kiribati, Prime Minister Tuilaepa of Samoa, Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato of Papua New Guinea, Foreign Minister Kieren Keke of Nauru, Foreign Minister Clay Forau Soalaoi of Solomon Islands, and Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola of Fiji.
Also present were the permanent representatives to the UN of Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Solomon Islands.