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     Government of the Republic of Fiji

  Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service

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Prime Minister Bainimarama accorded traditional Welcome in Vanuatu

PM_traditional_welcome_Vanuatu

13th March, 2012: Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama thanked the Melanesian Spearhead Group secretariat and the Government of Vanuatu today for according him a solemn ceremony of welcome.

The Prime Minister who is the Chairman of this powerful Melanesia group arrived in Vanuatu today leading a high level delegation for a three day visit that will including looking at developments leading to the Special MSG summit later this month in Suva.

"I wish to record my sincere appreciation and gratitude over the solemn ceremony of welcome accorded to me and my team this morning”, the Prime Minister told guests, including senior government officials at the traditional welcoming ceremony.

"This ceremony highlights one of the cornerstones by which the MSG was established, and that is the promotion of our common interest in our Melanesian heritage, its cultures, art, languages, traditions and values”.

Prime Minister Bainimarama who is also the first MSG Chairman to visit the secretariat added that the ceremony links Melanesians to “our land, our history and our lifestyle- a fact which still baffles some who do not really understand its importance to our identity as Melanesians and as Pacific People”.

"On an equal footing, it is crucial that we focus our collective actions on how our cultures and traditions could enhance our economic development. I am pleased that this is one topic that will be featured prominently in the agenda of our MSG meetings”.

Prime Minister Bainimarama also acknowledged and encouraged the hard work undertaken by the MSG Secretary General Mr Peter Forau.

"I am sure that your efforts have not gone unnoticed in the international arena, as you strive to make our voices heard in reputable international forums. Please keep up the good work”, the Prime Minister said.

At Bauerfield airport today, the Fijian government delegation was met by the Vanuatu Government representatives, MSG Secretariat staff and the Fiji Honorary consul, Mr Charles Valentine. He was accorded a flag raising ceremony and a custom ceremony in which the chiefs of Ambrym performed.

PM Bainimarama will also meet Fijian Law Students at the USP Vanuatu Campus today before being hosted to a dinner by the MSG Secretariat Secretary General Peter Forau.

Next week he will also pay a courtesy call on His Excellency the President of Vanuatu, Mr Johnson Abbil Kaniapnin and Vanuatu’s Prime Minister, the Honorable Sato Kilman.