Cabinet approves agreement on Fiji-NZ defence cooperation

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Personnel from the Republic of Fiji Military Forces participate in sporting activities with the New Zealand Army Cadets in Namaka, Nadi. Picture: FT FILE/REINAL CHAND

An agreement between the Fiji and New Zealand governments on defence cooperation and status of visiting forces will, among others, reaffirm mutual benefits of interoperability between the countries’ defence forces.

Cabinet approved the agreement on Tuesday, which Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka said was an affirmation of Fiji and New Zealand’s strong bilateral defence relationship.

In his post-Cabinet address yesterday, the PM noted the countries’ shared history of strong ties that encompassed heritage, culture, sports, business and education, and that it reflected a common Pacific identity and strong people-to-people links.

“It also recognises our shared interest in enhancing security cooperation to meet common challenges and maintaining a secure, sovereign, and resilient region,” Mr Rabuka said.

“The Agreement will allow the defence personnel of our two countries to undertake exchanges, deployments, and exercises in each other’s jurisdiction.”

He says Fiji will benefit immensely from these military exchanges in terms of the:

  • exposure of the Fijian troops to New Zealand’s military training methods and standards;
  • interoperability and understanding of New Zealand’s military doctrine;
  • obtaining funding support;
  • facilitating the engagement of experts and acquiring of skills; and
  • exposure to new military equipment and hardware that are not otherwise available.
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