US Secretary of State due in Fiji next week for talks with PI leaders

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be in Fiji next week for a series of meetings with senior Fijian government officials including the country’s prime minister.

The visit, the first by a US Secretary of State to Fiji since 1985, is part of Blinken’s week-long tour scheduled for February 7-13 “to engage with Indo-Pacific allies and partners to advance peace, resilience, and prosperity across the region and demonstrate that these partnerships deliver.”

In Fiji on 12 February, he will also hold a hybrid discussion with 18 Pacific Island leaders about their concerns, including the climate crisis, issues relating to economic development and economic recovery amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, issues related to the maritime domain from maritime security to illegal fishing, disaster assistance, and ways to further the US-Pacific shared commitment to democracy, regional solidarity, and prosperity in the Pacific.

While in Fiji, Blinken is also expected to meet members of the Pacific civil society and businesses.

About the visit to Fiji, the country’s acting Prime Minister and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said: “We’ve welcomed the USA back to the Paris Agreement and the campaign for climate action. Now, we’re looking forward to welcoming a US Secretary of State to Fiji for the first time in nearly four decades. The American people and their leadership belong at the heart of our Blue Pacific neighbourhood and we’re keen for strengthened engagement with the USA that opens blue and green possibilities across the region.”

Prior to visiting Fiji, Blinken will fly to Australia for a meeting with Australia Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne. He will also meet with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Foreign Minister Payne, Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Hayashi Yoshimasa, Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, and other senior officials.

After Fiji he will visit Honolulu, Hawaii where he will host Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi and Republic of Korea Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong.

Photo: US Dept of State

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