16 Feb 2006

South Africa to set up high commission in Fiji

9:31 am on 16 February 2006

South Africa is to set up a high commission in Fiji soon, becoming the first country from the African continent to establish a diplomatic mission in the South Pacific.

Fiji TV reports that the foreign affairs minister, Kaliopate Tavola, has welcomed the move, saying the new diplomatic ties will enhance Fiji's relationship with the giant amongst the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific group of countries.

Mr Tavola says the mission in Suva will mean stronger bilateral ties between the two countries and benefits in discussing global issues.

He says there is also the possibility of an economic partnership agreement, with South Africa opening up its markets to Fiji.

Mr Tavola says South Africa may also be able to help with the chronic shortage of medical professionals in Fiji.