New Zealand and Fiji have agreed to continue strengthening their defence relationship during a visit to the Pacific nation by Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters.
As part of its renewed commitment, New Zealand will provide a package of support to Fiji's military including for leadership and peace-keeping development, and the two countries will meet more often at a ministerial level to discuss issues and events in the region.
New Zealand and Fiji issued a communique following meetings in Suva yesterday as Peters made his first visit as Foreign Affairs Minister.
"This visit is a welcome opportunity to discuss the bilateral relationship as well as how we can give effect to the values of mutual respect which are at the core of New Zealand's Pacific Reset policy," Peters said.
"For that reason it is a positive step that Fiji and New Zealand have agreed to regular Joint ministerial consultations."
Following his meeting with Fiji's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Defence and National Security Inia Seruiratu, the pair issued a communique which covered areas such as defence, trade, investment and disaster management.
"The ministers agreed it was time to take the Fiji-New Zealand relationship to a new level based on common interests, shared prosperity and security that binds us together," the communique said.
New Zealand would put two additional staff in its High Commission in Suva and allocate more resources to strengthen the relationship.
"Fiji acknowledges New Zealand's 'Pacific Reset' and the shift in its engagement with the Pacific to a relationship built on values and equal partnerships," the communique said.
They agreed to continue collaborating on defence, particularly peacekeeping and border security.
"This includes a package of support from New Zealand to the Republic of Fiji Military Forces [RFMF] including in peacekeeping and leadership development. The ministers committed to intensifying cooperation in the area of policing and border control to ensure security for both countries to combat transnational organised crime."
Peters is leading a delegation of MPs to Fiji, Tuvalu and Kiribati this week.