Fiji’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, paid tribute to the outgoing Ambassador for the French Republic to Fiji, Gilles Montagnier, at a lunch reception hosted in his honour.
Ambassador Montagnier is returning to Paris after spending four years as resident Ambassador of France to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga and Tuvalu. This is his last duty as a French civil servant, of which 40 long years had been served as a diplomat.
In his remarks, the Fijian Foreign Minister commended Ambassador Montagnier for his tenure as the French envoy to Fiji. He added that during this period, Fiji and France have witnessed an increase in bilateral relations and cooperation. In particular, cultural exchanges between the two countries have escalated to a higher level over the past four years.
The strengthened relations that the two countries enjoy resulted in the recent visit to Fiji last week by the Commander of the French Armed Forces in New Caledonia, Brigadier-General Luc de Revel.
Ratu Inoke said that Ambassador Montagnier had been a diligent servant of the French Government, standing ready at all times to share the views of his government, share his insights and provided support to Fiji’s reforms over the past few years.
Ambassador Montagnier said he enjoyed his time in Fiji and it is an experience he would always cherish. He attributed his successful posting in Fiji to Ratu Inoke, whom he singled out as one of the key players in Fiji’s positive outlook in the international arena.
He said that since he was first posted in 2011, he had witnessed many changes, which had benefitted the country.
He believed Fiji’s roadmap was the best decision the country had taken and which led to the successful elections. Ambassador Montagnier congratulated Fiji and her people for the achievements made over the past few years.
The Ambassador said that there need to be a thorough and open discussion on the review of the Pacific regional architecture to make it relevant to the demands of the 21st century.
Also present at the farewell reception were Government Ministers and members of the diplomatic corps.