Statement by the Hon Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi at the Israeli-Pacific Leaders meeting, Suva Fiji
Excellency Reuven Rivlin
Fellow leaders of our Blue Pacific family
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I wish to acknowledge this historical event between Israel and the Pacific because it demonstrates our strengthened role in creating durable and genuine partnerships towards the sustainable development of our countries. Likewise I also recognize the important role Fiji is playing in hosting this summit. In this regard I thank the government of Fiji for their generous hospitality extended to our delegations.
As we are all aware, heightened interest in our region has come with a presentation of the Indo Pacific Strategy, the Belt and Road Initiative, the Step Up, Pacific Reset and Pacific uplift strategies, a proposed security role for the European Union in the region and the unprecedented levels of bilateral engagement with a number of countries driven by a range of interests including access to ocean and its resources.
We are happy to note that Israel is offering potential solutions to the many challenges we face in particular, creating knowledge based societies, building capabilities with the use of advanced technologies in the particular fields where Israel has demonstrable comparative advantage and innovation.
The emphasis on agriculture and food security as well as meeting basic needs such as water are important for isolated small island countries given our limited resources and the felt impacts of climate change.
We have been beneficiaries of many training programs in various fields in Israel and look forward to the new pilot programs in agriculture in addition to existing programs as well as the food security alliance.
We are appreciative of the support in health, in particular supporting national efforts to combat the Non Communicable Disease crisis in our region.
Recently, we have noted the assistance towards emergencies and disaster risk management as we had experienced during the recent measles epidemic in Samoa with the help of medical teams including one from the Israel Centre for Disease Control.
We appreciate the bonds of friendship that Israel shares with the Pacific and vice versa as reflected of the growing interest for pilgrimages to Israel and other people to people links. In this regard we would urge for a facilitated process in the endorsement of the already signed visa waiver arrangements between Israel and the relevant countries.
I was honoured to be invited for a state visit last year and this has remained a memorable occasion for me. We look forward to a continuation of similar summits in the future and may this cooperation deepen and be mutually beneficial to the Pacific and Israel.
It is our hope that Israel will work with us all to ensure that our vision for a region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion and prosperity is achieved so that all Pacific people can lead free, healthy and productive lives and that we leave a sound legacy for many generations to come.