Nusa Dua, Bali (ANTARA) - Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi met with Fijian Deputy Prime Minister Manoa Seru Nakausabaria Kamikamica to discuss the strengthening of trade and development cooperation.

During the bilateral meeting, which was held on the sidelines of the 5th Ministerial Meeting of the Archipelagic and Island States (AIS) Forum in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Tuesday, Minister Marsudi highlighted the role of Fiji as Indonesia's fourth-largest trade partner in the Pacific region.

"We should follow up this good momentum with strategic efforts aimed at facilitating our trade activities, including by formulating a preferential trade agreement or other schemes," she said, as quoted in a written statement released by the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Both ministers praised the positive trend in bilateral trade activities, which has been reflected by the average trade growth of 10 percent in the last 5 years.

During the meeting, Minister Marsudi also extended an invitation to Fiji to participate in the 38th Trade Expo Indonesia, which will be held from October 19–22.

She then underscored Indonesia's commitment to bolstering its development cooperation with Fiji, both through a direct bilateral channel and through the Melanesian Spearhead Group as well as the Pacific Islands Forum.

The commitment is reflected in Indonesia's plan to build the Demonstration Farm and the Regional Training Centre for Agriculture in Rakiraki, Fiji.

Further, Indonesia completed the Queen Victoria School rehabilitation project in August this year. Fiji considers the school as a place that enshrines historical values since it has produced numerous influential alumni, including the incumbent Fijian Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka.

Marsudi then reiterated Indonesia's commitment to supporting several concrete projects and establishing inclusive cooperation in the Pacific region.

"As a Pacific state, Indonesia bears a great moral responsibility to make our home a peaceful, stable, and prosperous region," she said.​​​​​​​

Marsudi and Kamikamica acknowledged the importance of strong cooperation and collaboration to achieve common interests, particularly in relation to global issues, such as climate change.

Kamikamica, who is also serving as Fiji's Minister of Trade, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and Communication, welcomed Indonesia's offer to enhance development cooperation, especially in the field of fisheries, maritime affairs, education, agriculture, health, and MSMEs.

He also welcomed the invitation to attend the Trade Expo Indonesia in October.

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Translator: Yashinta Difa, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Sri Haryati
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