29 Jun 2013

Russia and Fiji sign series of bilateral agreements

10:20 am on 29 June 2013

Fiji has signed a series of bilateral agreements with the Russia during the first ever visit to Moscow by a Fijian leader.

The prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, witnessed the signing of new protocols on military and technical cooperation; a mutual visa exemption scheme; cooperation in tackling money laundering, the proceeds of crime and the financing of terrorism; public health assistance; and university exchanges between Russia's Far East University and the Fiji National University.

Negotiations will also begin soon on a double taxation agreement and an air services agreement to establish air links between Moscow and Nadi and significantly boost the number of Russian tourists visiting Fiji.

The signings capped a day of intense activity in Moscow, which began when the Prime Minister laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier along the Kremlin Wall in the centre of the Russian capital.

This was followed by a meeting between Commodore Bainimarama and Prime Minister Medvedev at his official residence, Gorky House, on the outskirts of Moscow.

The two leaders pledged to strengthen their bilateral relations and improve trade and economic ties.

In his welcome statement, the Russian leader said he would like to see a celebration of the relationship between Russia and Fiji next year to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1974.