Fiji Foreign Affairs Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola hosts farewell lunch for French Ambassador, H. E Gilles Montagnier.
Fiji Foreign Affairs Minister, Honourable Ratu Inoke Kubuabola hosts farewell lunch for French ambassador, H.E. Gilles Montagnier and Mrs Virginia Montagnier.
Outgoing French ambassador to Fiji, His Excellency, Gilles Montagnier was hosted to a farewell lunch by the Foreign Affairs Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola and government members today at Borron House just a day after the function he hosted at the French Residence.
Ambassador Montagnier has held the post of French Ambassador in Fiji since December 2010. He is also accredited to Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga and Tuvalu.
In his farewell speech at the lunch reception, Mr Montagnier said since 2010, many things happened in all the fields.
He said Fiji plays an even more important role in the region. He believes that discussions on regional architecture would be useful and that France has to be part of it.
“With more than half a million French citizens in the Pacific region, sharing borders with 11 Pacific states and a massive contribution to the Pacific, France will have its say. We simply cannot imagine such a dialogue without France, a country of the Pacific.
“From the day we arrived in Fiji, I noticed that we were not in a country led by a military dictatorship as I had been told in Paris when I had been given instructions for my mission,” Ambassador Montagnier said.
“We were more in what we could call a non-democratic regime: public emergency regulations, media censorship, right of workers under strict control, with, nevertheless a glimmer of hope, the existence of a roadmap for the return of Fiji to democracy.
“After analyzing the situation with my staff in a couple of months, we decided that this roadmap was credible and the best thing to do was to remain vigilant and to adopt a balanced position regarding the implementation of the roadmap. Some will consider that this is immodest, but I assume: we took the right decision and we are today in a democratically governed Fiji, after elections were recognized as credible by the international community.”
Ambassador Montagnier said for France, the evolution of the situation in Fiji was something very positive because of the old links existing with our two countries, a cooperation that will be increased with French Pacific Territories, especially New Caledonia.
“A week ago, we received the official visit of the Senior Commander of the Armed Forces of New Caledonia, Brigadier General Luc de REVEL - a first step to a renewed cooperation on the base of equal partnership.
“Our cooperation will be based on the ways to face our common challenges with a priority, the survey of our EEZ to fight together against multiple threats: drugs and human trafficking, arms trafficking, illegal fishing and other illegal activities.
“I would like to once again congratulate Fiji and the Fijian authorities for their achievement.”
Ambassador Montagnier also paid tribute to Ratu Inoke in his contributions in Fiji’s bilateral and international relationships.
“We worked on a constructive way despite the circumstances and I’m sure this will continue. Even during the most difficult moments, Ratu Inoke succeeded to keep the discussions alive with all partners.
“Long life to Fiji, long life to France and long live to our bilateral relationship!”