Military team to leave for Noumea

A TEAM of military personnel led by the RFMF Commander Brigadier General Mosese Tikoitoga will be leaving for Noumea today to hold military talks with their counterparts at the French Armed Forces in New Caledonia.

Brig-Gen Tikoitoga said this was to further enhance their bilateral relations that was initiated during the visit of his counterpart, Brig-Gen Luc de Revel last October.

“We confirmed all our discussions and continue to provide the rescue and capability of all our seafarers in Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and also other smaller Pacific island nations that may require our help under the search and rescue obligations,” he said.

“The French have been very supportive and this is very much appreciated. They are providing platforms that we can use to ensure that we keep coverage of our EEZs.

“We will be leaving on Sunday and we are looking forward to returning the courtesy visit that was accorded to the RFMF by our French counterparts last year.”

French Ambassador to Fiji Michel Djokovic, during a joint press conference in Suva on Friday, said France was a country of the Pacific with tangible interests and two frontiers with Fiji through Wallis and Futuna and New Caledonia.

“Like Fiji, we are facing the same challenges when it comes to illegal fishing or trafficking in our two EEZs.

“Fiji and France are big contributors to peacekeeping operations.

“The prevalent challenges on the EEZs surveillance have made maritime co-operation between our two nations a strategic necessity.

“Fiji and France also have common interests in defence because we have common frontiers and we need to control our EEZs.”

Meanwhile, Mr Djokovic said the French naval frigate Vendemiaire would soon make a port of call in Suva.

The frigate already left Noumea with a Fijian Navy officer on board.

The frigate will participate in common exercises with the Fiji Navy in the Fijian waters.

Another French navy patrol boat — La Glorieuse will also make a port of call in Lautoka at the end of next month.

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