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NZ Defence Minister in Fiji to renew defence ties
NZ Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee.

NZ Defence Minister in Fiji to renew defence ties

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee is in Fiji today in an initial move towards rebuilding defence co-operation and engagement between New Zealand and Fiji, the New Zealand Government says.

“Following their successful elections on 17 September, Cabinet has agreed to lift the last remaining targeted measures against Fiji,” Mr Brownlee says.

“This will allow Defence to move toward rebuilding co-operation.”

Mr Brownlee is accompanied by the Vice Chief of Defence Force, Air Vice Marshal Kevin Short, and Deputy Secretary Defence Tony Lynch on the three-day visit.

During the visit Mr Brownlee will meet his counterpart the Fijian Minister of Defence Timoci Natuva and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ratu Inoke Kubuabola to discuss rebuilding the defence relationship.

Mr Brownlee will also lay a wreath at the Fijian National War Memorial in memory of the 31 New Zealanders interred there.

His trip to Suva follows a list of recent visits by top military representatives from France, Britain, Australia and the US.

As well, Fiji has strengthened its military ties with China, India and the United Arab Emirate and is expected to host Russia’s defence minister early next year.

Mr Brownlee returns to Wellington on Thursday.

SCOOP.CO.NZ

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