Fiji is looking to take greater control of its destiny and by diversifying or relations with countries like Russia, we are creating greater stability for ourselves.
Those are the words of Fijian Foreign Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola following the first ever official visit of a senior Russian official, Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov.
Kubuabola said Fiji certainly benefits from relations with NZ and Australia but Fiji has also historically been at the mercy of their rise and fall.
He said as we explore minerals, mining and trade, we are growing new sectors that create new jobs.
Kubuabola said as we create new friends and partners, we are also creating less dependency.
Meanwhile visa free travel between Russia and Fiji is expected in the future to promote tourism and the Russian Federation is also offering to support Fiji's contributions to peacekeeping missions around the world.
Concrete next-step proposals will now be created as Fiji formally strengthens its ties with the Russian Federation.
Following talks with Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama Kubuabola in Nadi, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia seeks to find partners in the region and it would like to cooperate in a mutually beneficial manner in order to promote Russia's ties with the Pacific.
Lavrov stressed that Russia is not making friends against anybody.
While responding to a question about the new US policy focus on the Asia Pacific region, Lavrov said the region is becoming a powerhouse of the world economy and with economic influence comes political influence.
Lavrov said we should all approach security in the region in an open way on the basis of respect for each other to ensure against "creating problems".
Lavrov also met with other Pacific Foreign Ministers in the meeting in Nadi today.
Australia's Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has stressed to his Russian counterpart the need to be transparent with the development assistance it gives to Pacific island nations, amid ongoing allegations that Moscow is using aid to buy diplomatic support in the region.
TVNZ said Rudd met Sergei Lavrov in Sydney earlier this week.
Although various agreements of trade were signed between Australia and Russia, TVNZ said there are fears Russia's dealings with Fiji could set back the diplomatic campaign to restore democracy in Fiji.
It said Rudd stressed to Lavrov the importance of maintaining democratic norms in the region.
Story by: Vijay Narayan
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