Fiji-Russia Agree to Cooperate in the Area of National Disaster Management and Emergencies

A historic instrument was signed in Moscow, Russian Federation today, 12 October 2016, broadening the Fiji-Russian bilateral relations to cover areas relating to cooperation in national disaster and in the mitigation of technological disaster.

The instrument, known as the Protocol of Intentions, provides the framework that will guide the relationship between Fiji and the Russian Federation in National Disaster Management and Emergencies.

The signing of this document is again another important step in deepening relations between the two countries.


Fiji’s Minister for National Disaster Management, Hon.Seruiratu (right) with his Russian counterpart HE.Puchkov (left) signing the Protocol of Intentions in Moscow

HE Mr. Vladimir Puchkov, Minister for Civil Defense, Emergencies and Elimination of the Consequences of Natural Disasters of the Russian Federation and the Hon. Mr. Inia Seruiratu MP, Minister of Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management of the Republic of Fiji, both agree that the instruments they have signed will enhance the development and implementation of means aimed at strengthening the reliability of natural disaster forecasts and the assessment of disaster risks.

The two Ministers jointly expressed the hope that through this framework, more intensive cooperation between Fiji and Russia will be undertaken in the areas of Emergencies and National Disaster Management. It will also allow the parties to constantly review and determine the most effective directions of cooperation between the two countries, in the elimination and prevention of national emergencies. The two Ministers also underscored their commitment to enhance the joint participation of their respective national experts in various training initiatives to ensure that they are fully prepared to deal with any National Disaster situation or emergencies that occur.

Other areas that were discussed by the two ministers include Information Exchange for National Disaster and the use of cutting edge technology in disaster preparedness, mitigation and resiliency.


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Consultation with the Chamber of Commerce & Industries of the Russian Federation


Ambassador Mataitoga met with senior representatives of the Chamber of Commerce & Industries of the Russian Federation (CCI), Mr Sergey VASILIEV, Deputy Chairman, Committee for Economic Cooperation with Asia and Oceania, and Professor Vadim SALTYKOVSKIY, also a member of the same committee in Moscow on 2 August 2016.

The meeting explored areas and opportunities to further build and develop trade, business and investment relations between Fiji and the Russian Federation, as well as consult with private sector representatives on issues that Fiji should address to increase bilateral relations between the two countries.

The discussions focused on exploring the potential  niche markets for products such as virgin coconut oil, tuna, fiji water, sugar and Fiji’s range of beauty products. Tourism (sports and cultural) was also an area of interest in the discussions, focusing both on visitors from Russia as well as attracting investment into Fiji’s tourism sector. Furthermore, the prospect of a mini-trade/invesment Mission from Fiji to Russia was also explored and for our Russian counterparts to consider.

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Fiji – Russia Bilateral Senior Officials Consultation

The first ever Senior Officials Meeting [SOM] at the level of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs [Permananet Secretary] took place in Suva, Fiji from 4-5 February 2015. The holding of this meeting came following the approval given during the meeting between Rear Admiral [Rtd] Josaia V. BAINIMARAMA, Prime Minister of Fiji and HE Mr. Sergey LAVROV, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation in New York, USA on 27 September 2014.

The Fijian delegation was led by Mr Esala Nayasi, Acting Permannet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and assisted by HE Mr. Isikeli Mataitoga, Fiji’s Non-resident Ambassador to the Russian Federation based in Tokyo, Japan and two support staff in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Apolosi Lewaqai Acting Director, Oceania, Asia and Russia Bureau and Ms Vakaoca Kedrayate, Assistant Secretary.

The issues discussed between the parties covered three aspects of bilateral relations between Fiji and the Russian Federation. The first part was a review of projects undertaken by both countries since the historic meeting of PM Bainimarama with PM Medvedev in Moscow, Russian from 28 -30 June 2013. The second part covered areas for new cooperation and the third part focused on Fiji-Russia cooperation in the multilateral organizations such as the United Nations and related agencies.

In addition to the senior officials meetings, HE Mr Igor Morgulov also made calls on Hon Ratu Inoke Kubuabola MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Hon Mr Timoci Natuva MP, Minister for Immigration, National Security and Defence.

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HE Mr Igor Morgulov, Deputy Minister fo Foreign Affairs of Russia being greeted by Mr Esala Nayasi

HE Ambassador Isikeli Mataitoga meets with Mr. Andrey Tatarinov, Director of the Third Department of Asia, MOFA Russian Federation


(l-r) Ambassador Mataitoga and Mr Tatarinov

On Tuesday 9th December 2014, HE Ambassador Isikeli Mataitoga had a meeting with Mr Andrey Tatarinov, Director of the Third Department of Asia & Oceania, MOFA Moscow at the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Tokyo. The Ambassador was accompanied by SS Kelera Savu.

Ambassador Mataitoga informed of the supportive remarks received from FET participant, Counsellor Korovou in regards to the latest “Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation in a Globalized World” which was held at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Federation last month, November 2014. He also noted that Fiji is one of the seven PICs Embassies in Japan.

Mr Tatarinov provided updates on the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Mr Igor Morgulov, proposed visit Fiji in late January 2015, underscoring the importance of this visit in Fiji/Russia bilateral relations. Both noted that such high level exchanges are productive in ensuring that our bilateral relations are deepened and to explore new areas of cooperation.

Ambassador Mataitoga observed that apart from the actual meetings between the Deputy Minister Morgulov and Permanent Secretary Amena Yauvoli, several short courtesy calls would be also be arranged. He also added that this is an excellent time to visit Fiji, and that Indian PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President, Xi Jinping has obviously provided a positive significance of such visits to the people of Fiji, India and China.

On the regional organizations, the Ambassador stressed that Fiji position is that we will not be re-joining the PIFS, unless there is a major reform of that organization. Fiji considers that PIFS is dysfunctional and no longer meets the original expectations of all its members. It now serves the interest of only a few members. Other organizations such as SPC and PIDF are the primary ones that Fiji will focus on in the future. Continuing support by the Russian Federation for PIDF is important.

Ambassador Mataitoga observed that Ambassador Morozov is proposing a visit of Speaker of Parliament of Fiji, the Honorable Dr Jiko Luveni to Moscow in April 2015, and thanked Mr Tatarinov for the Ministry`s hard work in the needed facilitation to be undertaken for a very positive visit. This is part of an effort to establish closer cooperation between the Russian Federation Federal State Council and State Duma and the Fijian Parliament.

Mr Tatarinov also conveyed the warm greetings of the Deputy Minister Morgulov. He also highlighted his commitment and that of his country to work on strengthening bilateral and international relations with not only Fiji, but the rest of the Pacific Island Countries as well. Russia considers Fiji as a partner and friend, and that seeks the assistance of Fiji to also advice on how they can better handle the Pacific Islands, further noting that Russia today wants to be part of the Asia-Pacific and have more part in the Pacific Island Countries.

The Ambassador also noted from the exchanges prevailing opportunities and prospects that would further strengthen ties between Fiji and Russia. The Ambassador and the Director Tatarinov looks forward in working together in developing the two country’s relations to new heights.

Fijian and Russian Ambassador’s Meet to Compare Notes and Update Each Other

On Thursday, 16th October 2014 Ambassador Isikeli Mataitoga paid a courtesy visit to his Russian counterpart H.E. Mr. Evgeny Vladimirovich AFANASIEV, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Embassy of the Russian Federation in Tokyo. This meeting is part of our periodic s consultation that the two Ambassadors engage in, to provide updates on issues of current interest to Fiji/Russian bilateral relations. The periodic meeting also provide a useful forum to discuss new issues of cooperation and share information. During this meeting, the Ambassadors discussed several important issues as follows:


Ambassador Mataitoga and his counterpart, Ambassador Afanasiev during their meeting

1] Update on the meeting between Fiji Prime Minister and Russian Foreign Minister at the UNGA in New York


2] Visit by Russian Minister for Defence to Fiji


3] Senior Government Officials Framework


4] Parliamentary Committee Visit


5] Minister Larvrov Visit to Fiji


6] Diplomatic Training in Moscow


7] Commonwealth of Independent States [CIS]






To round it off, Ambassador Mataitoga alluded on the One Day Seminar that FET is co-jointly organizing with Sasakawa Peace Foundation on the 27th of November 2014. The seminar will focus on Japanese Aid Diplomacy in Pacific Island Countries, and will include 2(two) main presenters and 4(four) commentators who will speak for 10 minutes each, consisting of PICs Ambassadors in Tokyo, Private sectors and Government of Japan. Ambassador Afanasiev raised his interest in the objective of the seminar and requested that the Russian Embassy be also invited to come and observe which was agreed to by Ambassador Mataitoga.


All in all, the two Ambassadors enjoyed the meeting and looked forward for another get together to update each other in due course, probably after Ambassador Mataitoga’s visit to Moscow.


The two Ambassadors in jovial mood after their meeting

The IV Asia-Pacific Music Festival

The Government and the Ministry of Culture of the Krasnoyarsk region, the Krasnoyarsk City Administration with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation were able to organize and facilitate the IV Krasnoyarsk International Music Festival of the Asia-Pacific region which was held in Krasnoyarsk City from 27 June to 4 July 2014. The Krasnoyarsk region is among the richest and most unique regions of Russia in historical and cultural field and again it hosts musicians, artists, choreographers and dancers from the Asia-Pacific countries, the Siberian and Far Eastern Federal District of Russia. The aim of the Festival is to present a multi-faceted map of the Asia-Pacific region, to create an atmosphere of mutual understanding and tolerance, devoid of conventions and stereotype in order to further mutual enrichment of cultures and development of new forms of intellectual dialogue. It establishes the bridges of friendship, mutual understanding and creative cooperation between representatives from different countries.


Kabu Ni Vanua Group and FS Vocea upon their arrival in Krasnoyarsk


A total of thirty [30] countries within the Asia-Pacific Region were invited to participate in this year’s event and the furthest and also for the first time to participate in was Fiji, represented by the Kabu Ni Vanua Cultural Group. A traditional dance group of the Conservatorium of Music in Fiji, the group has participated in numerous performances in Fiji and other countries and has won many National Traditional Dance Festivals and has participated in many National, Regional and World Festivals. The pinnacle of their international exposure was when they were given the opportunity to perform in the prestigious Oprah Winfrey Show in the United States. There were sixteen [16] members of the group led by the Director of Fiji Arts Council and also the Director of the group, Master Laisiasa Veikoso. Expenses for the group were paid for by the Government of the Russian Federation, with the local component of their travels and accommodation being catered for the Festival Administration committee in Krasnoyarsk.

The group first stopped over was in Moscow to participate in the reception to mark the 40th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between the Russian Federation and Fiji which was hosted by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Fiji, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola at the President Hotel on Friday evening, 27 June 2014. First Secretary of the Fiji Embassy in Tokyo, Mr Jovesa Vocea accompanied the group to Krasnoyarsk and they departed from Moscow on Saturday, 28 June 2014. Arriving in Krasnoyarsk on Sunday morning 29 June, the group spent only a few hours to check-in their luggage at their hotel before they performed in front of a packed crowd at the Great Concert Hall, the main arena where the festival has been staged.


The entertaining features of the Kabu Ni Vanua Group Cultural Group

Ministerial Bilateral Visit and Talk: Ratu Inoke Kubuabola Minister for Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation Meets Russian Counterpart in Moscow, Russia

Fiji’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola met with his Russian counterpart, Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Friday 27th June 2014. This was the first time for Minister Kubuabola to visit Moscow and the meeting was a follow up to the inaugural visit there by Fiji’s Prime Minister in June 2013. The two Ministers discussed ways they would help each other out bilaterally. They discussed important issues that ranged from bilateral and trade, humanitarian aid and election preparation.

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(l-r)Minister Kubuabola with Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov and also with Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr Morgulov

Fiji and Russia has vowed to strengthen their relation and raise it to greater heights after realizing that there’s still other areas they could explore and expand on. The relationship between the two countries dated back to the 19th century when two Russian seafarers Mikhail Lazarev and Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen visited the Ono in the Lau Group, a Ministry of Information statement said.

Mr Lavrov said that warm and friendly ties between their people and Fiji had been established based on their diaries. The two ministers revised the course of the agreements which were reached during the official visit of the Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe  Bainimarama to Russia in June last year. They also further explored topical international issues such as the commitment to further strengthen cooperation in the UN, including on peacekeeping duties. In this connection, Minister Lavrov spoke highly of Fiji’s contribution to peacekeeping operations around the globe where Fiji has accumulated gigantic experience in the area. On a particular note, he also commended the Fiji Military Forces currently the largest in the UN operation on the Golan Heights in which Russia is trying to equip them with light weapons other necessary equipment. Furthermore, the two leaders vowed to provide a coordinated approach when preparing resolutions of the UN Assembly.

The Minister’s program in Moscow culminated in him hosting a reception at the President Hotel to celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Fiji and Russia. Attended to by Russian Senior Government Officials, Diplomats and Businessmen the event was another opportunity for Minister Kubuabola to thank the government and the people of Russia for their support for Fiji. The Kabu Ni Vanua Cultural Group all the way from Fiji entertained those in attendance with live traditional dances and songs. Minister’s delegation departed Moscow again on Saturday, 28 June and on the same day First Secretary Jovesa Vocea with the Kabu Ni Vanua Cultural Group travelled to Krasnoyarsk to take part in the IV Asia –Pacific Music Festival.

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Minister Kubuabola was accompanied by HE Mr Isikeli Mataitoga, Fiji’s Non Resident Ambassador to the Russian Federation.