FIJI President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau says his visit to PNG is to strengthen ties with the country.
Speaking during a breakfast hosted by the Papua New Guinea-Fiji Business Council in Port Moresby yesterday, Ratu Epeli said his trip to the country was the continuation of visits he was making to other Pacific Island countries.
“I’ve been tasked by the Government to visit and renew and strengthen the ties that we have with countries of the Pacific, particularly countries that have stood by Fiji over our years of turmoil,” Ratu Epeli said.
He has visited the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu.
From here he travels later this week to visit Timor-Leste.
Ratu Epeli said Fiji would hold elections later this year, the first since the military coup in December 2006.
“The election is planned for September this year, the elections will take place. I don’t have any doubt whatsoever about that,” he said.
“We’ve been able to manage this because of the confidence that we have by the support that has been given to us by the Pacific Island countries.
“Particularly, Melanesian Spearhead Group countries that have been at the forefront of the support to Fiji. That’s why I’m here.”
Ratu Epeli said Fiji and PNG had a relationship that went back over a 100 years, starting with the missionaries who came to PNG and then PNG students who attended the medical school in Suva.