GG hails Fiji peacekeepers

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday February 26th, 2014

 GOVERNOR-General Sir Michael Ogio has thanked Fiji for the role its soldiers played in peacekeeping operations on Bougainville.

Sir Michael said that during a state dinner he hosted on Monday night at Parliament House for Fiji President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau. 

He paid tribute to the role played by Fiji soldiers during the early part of the South Pacific peacekeeping operation led by Colonel Savenaca Draunidalo, saying that laid the foundation for the peace and stability now enjoyed on Bougainville.

“The contribution reminded me of the early work your missionaries did bringing Christianity to the New Guinea Islands, including Bougainville,” Sir Michael said. 

“Your soldiers assisted in defending Bougainville during World War II. These memories remain fresh in the minds of our people, for which we are deeply indebted to you.”

He said Ratu Epeli’s visit was of great significance at it capped off high level visits from Fiji, particularly by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama last April. 

He said during that visit, Bainimarama and Peter O’Neill were able to agree on how to build, develop and grow bilateral relations through trade, commerce and economic opportunities and partnerships. 

“This undertaking by our prime ministers comes at a critical point in our region’s history, especially when Fiji and Papua New Guinea are working to establish a stronger economic, commercial, trade, cultural and political foundation to achieve the goals and aspirations of our people and to improve their livelihoods.”

Sir Michael thanked Fiji for championing awareness and attracting international support on the challenges of HIV/AIDS.