WORLD


President Rivlin becomes first Israeli leader to attend Pacific Islands Summit

Baku, February 21, AZERTAC

President Reuven Rivlin landed in Fiji on Thursday and was received in an official welcome ceremony at the airport. The president reviewed an honor guard and received a lei, a traditional welcome necklace of flowers.

The president was served with kava, the national drink which is made from the yangona root, as a sign of friendship between the nations and to welcome him on his visit.

He was also presented with an ancient whale tooth, coconuts in palm baskets, roots of local plants and a lamb that was prepared in honor of the event. They represented the blessings of the Fijian people on the arrival of the president and the hopes for strengthening relations between the countries.

Rivlin is in Oceana to participate in a summit with leaders of Pacific Island states, the first Israeli leader to attend the summit.

The conference, hosted by Fijian Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama and held in Nadi, Fiji, includes representatives of Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Tonga and Palau.

Bainimarama defined Rivlin’s visit was “historic” and noted that Fiji has been waiting since 1986 for such a high-ranking visit from an Israeli leader.

“This summit is very important to us as another stepping stone in strengthening the relations between us. Fiji will continue to pray for the peace of the Middle East region,” he stated.

The visit “is a historic opportunity to affirm the bonds of friendship and solidarity which have existed between the State of Israel and the Pacific Island states for many decades,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated ahead of the visit.

“The summit meeting will give a boost to the strong and continuous collaboration between the State of Israel and the Pacific Island states for the benefit of the Pacific Islands’ nations in their sustainable development challenges, based on Israel’s unique experience and innovative skills in the fields of public health, food security, water management and disaster preparedness,” the statement said.

Rivlin announced that Israel will grant 100 scholarships to students from the Pacific for agriculture studies at the Arava College in Israel and the establishment of a Center for Excellence and Innovation for the Pacific Islands.

Rivlin will next visit Australia and will meet with Governor-General David Hurley, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Jewish community in Melbourne.

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