Nailatikau sworn in as Fiji's new President

15:04, November 05, 2009      

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Fiji's newly appointed President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau was sworn in on Thursday at Government House, Suva by the Chief Justice Anthony Gates.

Nailatikau, former speaker of the House of Representatives, will serve for three years in Fiji's highest office of the land.

He was also a former commander of the Fiji Military Forces where he spent 20 years and former diplomat of 17 years.

On July 30, 2009, he became acting President after the retirement of Ratu Josefa Iloilo aged 88 and his appointment was decided by the interim Cabinet.

After the swearing in, Nailatikau spoke on the need for unity, love and hope.

Nailatikau has been an active advocate on HIV/AIDS after his appointment as UNAIDS Special Representative for the Pacific.

He was chosen because of his political position, respect throughout the Pacific region, and his outspokenness on AIDS-related issues.

He has previously served as a UNAIDS Pacific spokesman, and in 2004 chaired the first conference of Pacific Parliamentarians on the Role of Pacific Parliamentarians in the fight against HIV/AIDS, in Suva.

Nailatikau's outspoken calls to tackle the AIDS crisis have attracted controversy the most as he often called on people to recognize the reality that promiscuity existed, and that safe sex needed to be promoted to combat the associated AIDS risk.

Source: Xinhua
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