Statements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Prime Minister of Fiji, Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Monday, 7 November 2016), met with Fijian Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimara.
Prime Minister Netanyahu:
"Prime Minister Bainimarama, it's good to see you in Jerusalem. It's not the first time you have been to our country. You have been in various capacities here over the years so you know this land. We love this land and the people of Fiji love this land as well. We appreciate the sentiments of support and the actions in international forums.
There is a bond between our two peoples. We're not gigantic peoples but we aim big and we are glad that we have the opportunity to cooperate with you in a variety of efforts, in water, in cyclone, in the relief disaster, in other matters of technology which we'll discuss but I think more than anything else there is a bond of hearts. I'm glad that you had the opportunity to help us with the peacekeeping efforts, they're not easy. The quest for peace is difficult but we remain committed to it. And you know, Mr. Prime Minister, every time there is a foreign leader here I always say: Look, I'll be happy to begin peace negotiations without any conditions of course but direct negotiations with President Abbas, why don’t you invite me to your country? And I mean it when I say it, but in your case, in Fiji, in your beautiful country, I really mean it and I will not regret if the negotiations take another week, it will be fine.
So, in that spirit of friendship and amity and partnership, I welcome you and your colleagues to Jerusalem. Welcome."
Fijian Prime Minister Bainimarama:
"Thank you for those nice words of welcome and let me start by inviting you to Fiji.
I'm very pleased to be in Israel and to have this opportunity to meet with you. This visit is part of a tour that I'm making of Middle East capitals to discuss Fiji's contribution to United Nations Peacekeeping in the region.
For 38 years since 1978 we have proudly provided our service men and women to serve in peacekeeping operations on the Israeli-Syrian border and in Lebanon, in the Golan Heights and in Egypt and Iraq. We may be a small nation, Sir, in the Pacific but we've always been determined to play our part in the global community and part of that is helping to keep the peace for ordinary men and women in troubled parts of the world. These people are far from our tranquil island home but we pride ourselves in coming to do what we can to make their lives better.
And today I intend to promise you, Sir, that our commitment will continue and this I will tell other leaders in the Middle East, that they can always rely on Fiji.
At the forefront of our discussion, Sir, of course, will be the safety of Fijian men and women in uniform as they carry out their duties on behalf of the United Nations in other peacekeeping areas. And that will be also the message I will take to Lebanon later on the week and to the UAE and other nations in the Middle East in the weeks and months ahead. As Fijians, we have always regarded the people of Israel as friends, as very good friends, just as we do the citizens of its neighbors. We are here to help, we are here to keep the peace and that commitment will continue now and in the years ahead.
I'm also looking forward to Israel's support, Sir, on a range of issues, on medical, on renewable energy, including agriculture, especially our effort to draw global attention to the need for more decisive action on climate change. Rising sea levels and extreme weather events associated with climate change threaten our very existence in the Pacific and we need the support of Israel and every nation as we take the fight to Morocco later on in the month, in COP22.
In the meantime, Sir, I want to thank the Israeli government for its warm welcome and again pass on the invitation for you and your family to come home for a visit, enjoy the holiday and hospitality that only Fiji can give."