Fiji Time: 7:08 PM on Wednesday 21 March

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Tevita Vuibau
Monday, April 28, 2014

THE sacrifices of Fijian soldiers who fought beside their Australian and New Zealand counterparts were honoured last Friday during the Anzac Day dawn service in Suva.

Speaking at the service acting Australian High Commissioner Glen Miles said Fijians had served with pride in the theatres similar to those of the Anzacs.

"Let us also acknowledge our Fijian hosts for, they too have shared the trials of battle, serving alongside Australians and New Zealanders in conflicts both near and far," Mr Miles said.

"From the muddy fields of distant Flanders to the Solomon Islands campaign in the Pacific conflict."

"Since then, Fijian troops have served with distinction in numerous theatres wearing the famous UN Blue Beret.

Mr Miles said he had witnessed first-hand the high regard held for Fijian troops by both their UN comrades and local populations in Sinai, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau was also present at the dawn service, making a return after a few years of absence and Mr Miles said this was further evidence of the growing goodwill between the two countries.

"The turnout was impressive but included in that is how many Fijians have also attended particularly the ex-service men and women who have served in a range of places and often with Australian and New Zealand comrades in arms.

"So it has been a very impressive turnout and having the president here is obviously very important for us," he said.

It shows that we are moving toward establishing a normal working relationship.

Acting New Zealand High Commissioner Mark Ramsden also paid homage to Fijian soldiers in his address.

"While the battles of the Second World War never reached as far as Fiji, Fijian troops fought alongside New Zealanders and Australian Coast Watchers in the Solomon Islands campaign and in Bougainville," Ramsden said.

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