Fiji only country to offer aid
1 October, 2014, 12:00 am
FIJI is the only country so far to have offered any assistance to the sinking nation of Kiribati.
And this is despite the Kiribati Government being in constant contact with much larger powers within the region.
“We’ve talked to every government, not to any particular government, at the international level and we have always made this point and I must say that up to now, there’s been only one government, one country that has offered a very positive response,” Kiribati President Anote Tong says.
“And that is Fiji during the Fiji President’s visit to Kiribati this year.”
He said the offer from President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau gave his government hope.
“He made a very large statement to the international community and what the president said was a very human response and what he said was this: “If ever Kiribati should find itself in a situation where they have to relocate, then Fiji will be willing to relocate.”
“And this is very gratifying. It gives us hope that there is humanity in this world but up until now, Fiji has been the only country to come forward.”
President Tong also explained his government was getting the Kiribati people ready if there was a need for migration — providing them with training for different skill sets.
“One of our responsibility as a government is to prepare them for that possibility by providing training so those who choose to do so will be able to do so as people who will have skills.
“So that they can go as people with skills, not second-class citizens. That is our strategy.
“What we are doing is preparing our people to be able to migrate on merit so if Fiji has a place for them and their skills, then obviously Fiji will be the place.
“But we’re not targeting any particular country, we are targeting the skill levels that we can provide for our people so that the choice is theirs.”