Fiji Sends Delegation to Israel Ahead of Yerushalayim Embassy Opening in 2024

SYDNEY (Reuters) – The Pacific Islands nation of Fiji will send a delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister Villiame Gavoka to Israel this month before opening an embassy in Yerushalayim in 2024, Fiji officials said, fulfilling an election promise by Gavoka’s political party.

A large delegation will travel on a specially chartered Fiji Airways flight to mark Sukkos, the officials said.

Fiji will open an embassy in Yerushalayim next year, a spokeswoman from the Fiji Prime Minister’s Office said. “The establishment of the embassy represents a significant milestone in Fiji’s diplomatic relations with Israel,” she told Reuters in an email.

Last month, Pacific Islands neighbor Papua New Guinea (PNG) opened an embassy in Yerushalayim, becoming only the fifth country with a full diplomatic mission in a city whose status is one of the most sensitive issues in the Middle East.

PNG joined embassies from the United States, Kosovo, Guatemala and Honduras in Yerushalayim, while most countries maintain their diplomatic representation in the city of Tel Aviv, Israel’s main economic hub.

Fiji’s Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka agreed to open an embassy in Yerushalayim to win support from Gavoka’s Social Democratic Liberal Party,, in order to form a coalition government after national elections in December 2022, a deal that saw Fiji’s first change of government in 14 years.

In June, Fiji allocated funding for an embassy in Israel in its national budget, but Israel later offered financial help if the embassy were to be located in Yerushalayim, the Fiji Times reported last month.

Gavoka wrote on social media last month that he had made the location of the embassy in Yerushalayim a “non-negotiable matter in our coalition agreement.”

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