Diplomacy

Fiji, France, Tuvalu sign maritime agreement

A landmark agreement on maritime boundaries under the jurisdiction of Fiji, France and Tuvalu was signed in Suva today. Maritime boundaries are important to Small Island states as the lives of its people are linked to the ocean. This was highlighted today by the Prime Minister of Tuvalu Enele Sopoaga during the signing of the delimitation of […]

Newsroom

September 16, 2015 10:04 pm

A landmark agreement on maritime boundaries under the jurisdiction of Fiji, France and Tuvalu was signed in Suva today.

Maritime boundaries are important to Small Island states as the lives of its people are linked to the ocean.

This was highlighted today by the Prime Minister of Tuvalu Enele Sopoaga during the signing of the delimitation of maritime areas under the jurisdiction of Fiji, France and Tuvalu .

The signing took place between the Tuvalu PM, Fiji’s Roving Ambassador to the Pacific, Litia Mawi and the French Ambassador to Fiji, Michel Djokovic.
The signing took place between the Tuvalu PM, Fiji’s Roving Ambassador to the Pacific, Litia Mawi and the French Ambassador to Fiji, Michel Djokovic. Photo: Department of Information.

“Given our small land area, and the increasing threat of sea level rise and climate change in the future, my Government has taken the necessary steps to ensure that our maritime boundaries are legally established to ensure full recognition of our sovereignty rights and claims,” Mr Sopoaga said.

He added the agreement will be an effective mechanism to address some of the issues that are threatening the very existence of Tuvalu’s national identity and statehood.

Ms Mawi said, “As a declared “Friend to All and Enemy to None”, Fiji believes that it is in her interest that all maritime boundaries that she shares with her neighbouring island states are determined and mutually agreed through respectful dialogue and peaceful negotiations”.

She emphasised the importance of dialogue especially on issues such as maritime delimitation where sensitive questions of State sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction are always put into question.

The delimitation is part of the exclusive sovereignty claims over areas of ocean space that must be based on accurate technical data and meet the provisions of the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS).

Fiji was the first Pacific island country to sign the convention in 1982 and in October last year, it signed its maritime boundary agreement with Tuvalu.

The delimitation signing marks the success of three coastal states in the Pacific region achieving an amicable solution for all three who share common and overlapping Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) which is referred to as having a tri-junction point between three countries.

Mr Djokovic said the existence of borders is one of the components that defined a state and its determination is fundamental.

Furthermore, he said it is important to maintain the delicate balance in the ocean as its potential for its riches may “provoke unwelcome envy”.

Source: Fijian Government

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