P.M. Fiame in New Zealand for bilateral discussions

By Alexander Rheeney 13 June 2022, 12:33AM

Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa is now in New Zealand and will meet with her counterpart Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday for her first bilateral meeting outside the country.

The Prime Minister flew out of the country over a week ago and did a stopover in Auckland, where she joined the Samoan diaspora in their celebration of Samoa’s 60th Independence anniversary, before continuing her travel to Fiji for a Pacific leaders dialogue from 6-7 June in Suva.

Six Pacific heads of government attended the two-day dialogue, which was chaired by the current chair of the Pacific Islands Forum and Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Frank Bainimarama.

While in Fiji for the regional conference, Fiame also opened Samoa’s new High Commission chancery in Suva last Tuesday evening with Mr Bainimarama.

Regional security – on the back of the 10-day tour of eight Pacific Island nations including Samoa by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi – will be top of the agenda when the two Prime Ministers meet for their first bilateral discussions in New Zealand.

Ms Ardern’s office released a statement last Tuesday to advise of the Prime Minister’s visit to New Zealand and the significance of its timing, coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Friendship between Samoa and New Zealand.

“Aotearoa New Zealand is first and foremost a Pacific nation and we value the strength of our relationship with our Pacific family. I am delighted that Prime Minister of Samoa’s first official bilateral overseas visit will be to New Zealand,” Ms Ardern said in the statement.

According to the statement, Prime Minister Fiame will officially be welcomed on 14 June in a visit which marks 60 years of close diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Samoa, and the 60th anniversary of Samoa’s independence. 

She will also attend a series of community and official engagements, including meetings with Ms Ardern and other New Zealand Ministers.

“This is a significant year for Samoa as it celebrates 60 years of independence on 1 June, and 60 years since the signing of the Treaty of Friendship between Samoa and Aotearoa New Zealand on 1 August," Ms Ardern added. 

“The Treaty underpins our relationship and pledges that both countries work together to promote the welfare of the people of Samoa and was, in fact, signed by Naomi Mataʻafa’s father and Samoa's first Prime Minister, Fiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinu'u II.

“The Prime Minister and I have already spoken on three occasions and I look forward to further discussing the key issues affecting our region, development cooperation and our ongoing respective COVID-19 responses.”

Fiame will also attend a number of other engagements in Wellington, Hawke’s Bay and Auckland, including a community gathering with Regional Seasonal Employment workers and a lunch with the Pacific Parliamentary Caucus.

By Alexander Rheeney 13 June 2022, 12:33AM
Samoa Observer

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