Heads of Mission from Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the United States left Suva this week to explore the Western Division and hold ‘Friends Talanoa’ sessions with Fijians from all walks of life.
During the two-day trip, the Japanese and United States Ambassadors and the New Zealand and Australian High Commissioners visited faith-based groups, civil society organisations, local businesses and communities in and around the Nadi-Lautoka corridor, to hear first-hand about their work in responding to the economic and social challenges of COVID-19.
As part of the program, Heads of Misson called on the Commissioner Western Division, Mr Mesake Ledua, and his team, and visited the beautiful Tuveni Hill Fort after presenting a traditional sevusevu to the Roko Tui Nadrogo at Naroro Village.
U.S. Ambassador to Fiji, Joseph Cella, said “This is a pioneering moment for people to people diplomacy in Fiji by the diplomatic corps. Going straight to the people from all strata, walks of life, practitioners of faith, or otherwise. Listening and learning, especially on the deep and broad ripple effects of this silent plague, from the strained economy to hospitals. Total transparency in our dialogue. This is an excellent opportunity for people in the Western Division to confer about ideas for overcoming economic adversity. New bridges being built, others being fortified to with government officials, businesses, religious groups and civil society organizations.”
New Zealand High Commissioner to Fiji, Jonathan Curr, said “In such challenging times it has been important to come together with my diplomatic colleagues to connect with Fijians from all walks of life to better understand the social and economic challenges affecting the country. I have very much appreciated the warmth and openness of the individuals and organizations acting as generous hosts for the delegation over the past couple of days.”
Japanese Ambassador to Fiji, Masahiro Omura, said “Japan has been coordinating with Fijian Government to cope with the situation of COVID19 and aftermath of TC Harold. So far, we have extended FJD40 million of Stand-by Loan in addition to the other grant assistances. I appreciate for this occasion to hear the Fijian peoples’ voices closely which will reflect in our further cooperation.”
Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, John Feakes, said “Australia has been working closely with the Fijian Government in response to COVID-19, and this trip is an opportunity to see that work in action. It has been inspiring to hear how Fijians are supporting each other and their communities. “
This ‘Friends Talanoa’ is part of our shared commitment to support Fiji, and all Fijians, as we work together towards economic recovery.