The Extraordinary Historic Pacific Leaders Summit meeting took place in Fiji on Thursday, February 20.
The Caretaker Minister of Internal Affairs, Andrew Napuat represented the Vanuatu government in the one-day meeting.
The Extraordinary Pacific Leaders Summit Meeting in Nadi Fiji between the President of the State of Israel, Reuven Rivlin and the other Pacific Island Country Leaders.
For the Israeli Delegation and some Fiji Government Ministers, this is the first time ever for an Israeli President to meet with the leaders of the Pacific in the Pacific Region and this is why the meeting is historic.
When addressing the leaders on behalf of the caretaker Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai, caretaker minister Napuat reaffirmed the fact that the Republic of Vanuatu also shares growing bonds of friendship and solidarity with the State of Israel, dating back to 16th December 1993 when formal diplomatic relations was established between our two countries.
“Like other Pacific Island Leaders, a number of Vanuatu Leaders, including Prime Minister Salwai have made official visits to Israel, mainly to seek creative ideas and avenues for developing our relations to our mutual benefits into the 21st century,” he stated.
Mr. Napuat said like other Pacific Island Leaders, a number of Vanuatu Leaders, including the caretaker PM have made official visits to Israel, mainly to seek creative ideas and avenues for developing relations to mutual benefits.
“As you are aware, Vanuatu has a Visa Waiver Agreement with the State of Israel,” Napuat stated.
“This has facilitated many Vanuatu prominent citizens and Leaders to pay pilgrimage visits to Israel in recent years, including a number of our past Presidents and Prime Ministers.
“We were happy to have received a number senior officials and prominent citizens from Israel to our shore, including the son of the current Prime Minister of Israel in 17th May 2018. We look forward to building on to such initial people to people contacts and exchanges towards boosting our tourism industry, especially in terms of investments and visitor arrivals.”
He reiterated that on 25th April 2012, the Vanuatu Government concluded a five years Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with MASHAV to establish and promote development cooperation programs in the sustainable development areas of agriculture, climate change and renewable energy, marine and fisheries, education, health, culture, faith and public diplomacy.
“I take this opportunity to express our deep appreciation for the training in Israel of a number of our citizens under this MOU, especially in Climate Change”, he said.
Mr. Napuat expressed the profound appreciation of the People and Government of Vanuatu for the conclusion in 2018 of an MOU to promote Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services (MHPSS) in Vanuatu.
This MOU is aimed at strengthening capacity amongst local leaders, civil society and healthcare professionals towards addressing growing needs for MHPSS in the country, through training and support mechanisms.
“In the area of Disaster Preparedness, may I take this opportunity to convey the gratitude of the population of Ambae for the much-needed assistance provided by IsraAID, to assist with implementing the Vanuatu Government relocation program during the worst volcanic eruptions in that island last year,” Mr. Napuat added.
In concluding his remarks, he acknowledged the government of Israel for the award of 10 scholarships to Vanuatu students to participate in the Pilot work and study program at the AICAT College in Negev, southern Israel, being implemented as of August 2020.
The Meeting was hosted by the Fiji Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama and attended by the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, James Marape and a big delegation which included several PNG Ministers, Members of Parliament and senior Diplomats, Prime Minister of Samoa Tuilaepa Lupesoliai, Deputy Prime Minister of Tonga Vuna Fa’otusia, Deputy Prime Minister of Tuvalu Alapati Taupo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Solomon Islands Jeremiah Manele and the president of Israel Reuven Rivlin and his delegation.