×

Warning

JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 81

Ambassadors express fond greetings, shared values

Thursday September 25, 2014 Written by Published in Local
Pictured here (L-R) during yesterday’s ceremony; Czech Ambassador Martin Pohl, Acting Prime Minister Teariki Heather, Ambassador of the Philippines Virginia Benavidez, Queen’s Representative Tom Marsters and Minister of Justice Mona Ioane. 14092402 Pictured here (L-R) during yesterday’s ceremony; Czech Ambassador Martin Pohl, Acting Prime Minister Teariki Heather, Ambassador of the Philippines Virginia Benavidez, Queen’s Representative Tom Marsters and Minister of Justice Mona Ioane. 14092402

Two foreign diplomats were received by Queen’s Representative Tom Marsters yesterday during a morning ceremony at Government House.

During the ceremony – attended by various dignitaries including Traditional Leaders from the Koutu Nui and the House of Ariki – the ambassadors from the Czech Republic and the Republic of the Philippines presented their credentials to Marsters.
On hand to represent the Government were acting Prime Minister Teariki Heather and Minister of Justice Mona Ioane.
Addressing Marsters, Ambassador of the Philippines Virginia Benavidez said she has travelled to Rarotonga to offer the best wishes of her country’s leader.
“I take this opportunity to convey the heartfelt greetings of President Benigno Aquino,” she said.
Benavidez referred to December 12, 2011 - when the Cook Islands and the Philippines formally established diplomatic relations through the signing of a joint communique document – and said she hoped the countries will be able to continue to nurture a strong relationship.
“We are bound by the vast expanse of the Pacific,” she said, adding both nations are natural partners in areas such as the environment, climate change, and the reporting of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
The Ambassador also acknowledged the local Filipino community, which she numbered at 230 individuals. “The Philippines deeply appreciates the gratitude afforded to the Filipino community of the Cook Islands,” she said. Marsters also mentioned the contributions of the expat community, as well as 15 “Filipino-Cook Islanders” who have been granted permanent residency.
“And you are not allowed to take them back,” he jokingly told the Ambassador, drawing laughter from the attendees.
For Benavidez, it was her first trip to the Cook Islands since the 2012 Pacific Islands Forum.
Czech Ambassador Martin Pohl spoke on the different geographies of the countries, remarking that the Cook Islands was strikingly different to the landlocked Czech Republic.
Despite the physical differences, Marsters acknowledged the similarities, including the shared values of respecting “human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.” He also thanked the European Union – which includes the Czech Republic in its membership – for the continued support of a number of projects through the European Development Fund. Marsters extended an invitation to both diplomats to attend next year’s 50th anniversary celebrations of self-government.  - ES

Leave a comment