RUSSIA is ready to develop its relations with Fiji following the appointment of Fiji's first ambassador to Russia.
Former judge Isikeli Mataitoga presented his credentials as Fiji's first Ambassador to the Russian Federation at the Kremlin in Moscow last Thursday.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry said President Dmitry Medvedev accepted Mr Mataitoga's credentials during a small but eloquent ceremony.
"We are ready to build up our cooperation with the Republic of the Fiji Islands in the United Nations and other international organisations. There are good opportunities for developing cooperation in areas such as fishing and tourism," Mr Medvedev.
Foreign Affairs Ministry head Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said the event was a significant development in Fiji's diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation and the international community.
Fiji established diplomatic relations with the then Soviet Union on January 30, 1974 but has never formally requested the agreement of the Russian state for an appointment of an ambassador.
"Following the breakup of, what was the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian Federation accepted all responsibilities of previous diplomatic relations of the Soviet Union and thus bilateral relations continued uninterrupted," Ratu Inoke said.
He said the appointment of ambassador Mataitoga was a bold and major step by the interim administration to deepen its bilateral relations with a major world power.
Mr Mataitoga met Alexey Borodavkin, the deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, and senior officials of the Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Agriculture, the Federal Fisheries Agency and the Russian Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
An important outcome of the visit is the undertaking from the Russian Federation Government to send a team of officials to undertake an assessment mission for areas of trade and investment and to explore ways to further deepen bilateral relations between Fiji and the Russian Federation.