Australia

Fiji PM not afraid to speak his mind on differences with Morrison

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Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama received a ceremonial welcome at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday.

Fiji's prime minister wasn't afraid to speak his mind about differences with Australia in his meeting with Scott Morrison in Canberra.

The pair posed for the cameras before a bilateral meeting at Parliament House, just weeks after Frank Bainimarama accused Australia of being "insulting and condescending".

Prime Minister of Fiji Visits Australia
Fiji PM Frank Bainimarama at an official welcoming ceremony in Canberra.
Getty

They also signed the Fiji-Australia Vuvale Partnership, strengthening security and economic ties.

"Neither of us baulk at speaking our minds, and I believe we both hold a clear view of our priorities and a shared understanding of how we can live up to the high aspirations of the partnership," Mr Bainimarama said on Monday.

"No-one expects that our differences can be resolved quickly or easily, but we must never fall down in forging common ground."

The Fijian leader recently accused Australia of being insulting over negotiations about climate change at the Pacific Islands forum.

But Mr Morrison has readily played up the relationship between the two countries, including in an official visit to Fiji in January.

"The people-to-people relationships, the strategic relationships, the economic partnerships, they're not new, they go back many, many, many generations," Mr Morrison said on Monday.

"For whatever other complexities there are in the world today, one certainty is the relationship that exists between the people of Australia and the people of Fiji.

"I think that will always endure. It is just too familiar, it is too close and will always be enduring."

Vuvale is the Fijian word for "family", which Mr Morrison has stressed as a key part of his Pacific Step Up program, to build closer ties between Australia and the Pacific.

Mr Bainimarama was given a ceremonial welcome at Parliament House on Monday morning, and will give a speech at the Australian War Memorial at 4pm.

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