Address by H.E. Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, President of Fiji at the Farewell Reception for the Eminent Persons Group of the G77 & China

Natadola, Fiji
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
  • Your Excellency Mr. Evo Morales, President of Bolivia
  • Your Excellency Anote Tong, President of Kiribati
  • The Honorable Gordon Darcy Lilo, Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands
  • The Honorable Peter O'neill, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea
  • The Honorable Moana Carcasses Kalosil, Prime Minister of Vanuatu
  • The Honorbale Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji
  • Your Excellency Mr. John Ashe, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations
  • Mr Leonel Fernandez, President of the Foundation for Development and Democracy and Fomer President of the Dominican Republic
  • The Honorable Wardana, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Indonesia
  • Dr. Babatune Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
  • Dr Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary, economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
  • Your Excellency Li Qiangmin, Special Envoy of hte People's Republic of China to the China-Pacific Islands Forum Dialogue
  • Mr Mourad Ahmia, Executive Secretary of the Group of 77
  • Mr Yiping Zhou, Director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation
  • Your Excellency Ambassador Francis Lorenzo, President of South-South News
  • Your Excellency Sasha Llorenty, Permanent Representative of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the United Nations
  • Honorable Ministers
  • The Dean of the Diplomatic Corps
  • Your Excellencies Ambassadors and High Commissioners
  • Members of the Diplomatic Corps
  • Distinguished Guests
  • Ladies and Gentlemen

Ni sa bula vinaka and warm greetings to you all. Asalam Alaykum, Namaskar.

It is indeed a great honour and a special privilege for my wife, Adi Koila and I, to welcome you all here this evening to this farewell reception and dinner. While, on the one hand, we take tremendous pleasure in being your hosts, on the ohter hand, it is a gathering that is tinged with sadness, as it is also an occasion to formally say farewell to you our visitors who have been with us this week for the Group of 77 Plus China Panel of Eminent Personalities meeting.

At the same time, on behalf of the Government of Fiji and our own behalf, I also wish to take this time to express our sincere gratitude to all of you for your valubale contributions towards the successful meeting that was concluded today. I believe that the outcome of your meeting will essentially provide the needed impetus to further enhance the development agenda of the south.

Throughout Fii's Chairmanship of the Group of 77 Plus China this year, the Fijian Government has repeatedly emphasized the importance of South to South Cooperation. In fact it has become a central theme-if not our mantra-as Chair of the group.

It is clear from your deliberations that the group of 77 Plus China is here to stay. As you would no doubt all agree, its main strengths are its unity and solidarity, its vision of a fair and equitable multilateral relations and its commitment to mutually beneficial cooperation.

From what I have learnt today, your meeting also showed that there has never been a greater opportunity for the expansion of South to South cooperation. Developing countries must move forward to capitalize on this opportunity to strengthen the south and come up with practical options and measures to revitalize all aspects of our cooperation.

Our rich and diverse development experiances and know-how as well as our similar needs and problems offer a unique window of opportunity for greater south to south cooperation.

From a Fijian perspective, the changes we seek for the Group of 77 Plus China is akin to the reforms that Fiji is currently undertaking to provide a stable, progressive and prosperous political, social and economic framework for our nation and all her people.

We are indeed living in, and experiencing exciting times-both for the Group of 77 Plus China and for Fiji.

On that note, I wish to take this momentous opportunity to propose a toast to heartily congratulate the members of the Group of 77 Plus China and Panel of Eminent Personalities once again for having successfully concluded your meeting. And, at the same time, to congratulate the Prime Minister of Fiji for his stewardship.

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, please join me in a toast to the Group of 77 Plus China!

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