PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama met his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday as part of discussions on Fiji’s contribution to United Nations peacekeeping operations in the region.
Mr Bainimarama, who is currently in Israel as part of his Middle East tour, said Fiji provided servicemen and women to UN operations in the Israel-Syria border and in Lebanon and Egypt for the past 38 years.
Fiji’s first UN troop contribution in the region was in 1978 with UNIFIL — the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.
Since then Fijian peacekeepers have served with the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai Desert, the Golan Heights and Iraq.
“We may be a small island nation in the Pacific but we have always been determined to play our part in the global community,” Mr Bainimarama said.
“And part of that is helping to keep the peace for ordinary men and women in troubled parts of the world.
“These people are far from our tranquil island homes, but we pride ourselves on coming to do what we can to make their lives better. Today (yesterday), I intend to promise the Israeli Prime Minister that our commitment will continue, just like I will tell other leaders in the Middle East that they can always rely on Fiji.”
Mr Bainimarama said the Government was seeking the support of Israel on issues such as agriculture and the need for more global attention on climate change.
“The rising sea levels and extreme weather events associated with climate change threaten our very existence in the Pacific and we need the support of Israel and every nation as we take this fight to Morocco and COP-22 (Conference of the Parties) later in the month.”