H.E. Gilles Montagnier 2014 Fiji Day celebration message
STATEMENT FROM THE AMBASSADOR OF FRANCE TO FIJI –
H.E. Gilles Montagnier
As I prepare to leave office, it is with some emotion that I convey to the President of the Republic, the Government and people of Fiji the congratulations of France at the occasion of Fiji Day.
I arrived in Suva in December 2010. What a long way in four years! Once singled out and maligned, Fiji is now back to parliamentary democracy with full support from the international community.
France’s position has been consistent, constant and balanced: we have always been confident in the holding of elections and have never practiced policy of systematic sanctions. As we did in the past, we have adopted a positive attitude, clearly expressing our objections when we felt useful to do so, but welcoming with trust each milestone to encourage the government’s efforts.
Our bilateral relations are excellent and our cooperation has never stopped – to give one example, France has invited Fiji to participate in military exercises, “Croix du Sud or Southern Cross” which took place in early September in the South Pacific.
We would like to further reinforce them, involving, more than we did before, our Pacific territories - French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna and New Caledonia. Regional integration of these three territories is a priority for my government and I am very glad that Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama clearly stated his willingness , to forge strong links with Noumea. Fiji and New Caledonia are natural partners for each other.
France also counts upon Fiji on the international arena.
At the United Nations of course, where Suva contributes greatly to the discussions, but also in a very concrete way, by providing many peacekeepers – courageous men to whom I would once again like to pay tribute, along with my thoughts for the French military who defend our freedom, in putting their lives at stake, especially in Africa and the Middle East.
Fiji occupies a central place in the South Pacific and we also know that we can rely on Fijian diplomacy to be an active partner in the climate change negotiations that will culminate with Paris hosting, in 2015, the 21th Conference of the Parties.
France, a country of which half a million citizens are Pacific Islanders, is very proactive in this area and has always been, with the European Union, very active in the negotiations. Our wish is to reach, in Paris, a universal legal agreement on climate change for humanity to return to the path of limiting global warming to below 2 ° C. Island states have an important role to play in the construction of this agreement.
Again a very Happy Fiji Day to all!
Goodbye, Namaste and Moce.
H.E. Gilles Montagnier