20 Dec 2002

Members of Fiji's Peacekeeper Assn to boycott Lebanon service celebrations

11:19 am on 20 December 2002

The Fiji government has brushed aside reports of a threat by the Peacekeepers Association after a meeting of the national security council.

The Attorney-general, Qoriniasi Bale says the alleged threat by the association was either to disrupt or sabotage today's celebrations to mark the end of 24 years of peacekeeping in Lebanon.

In a ministerial statement in the Senate, Mr Bale said there were differing versions of this threat being speculated about in the media both locally and overseas.

He said some mischievous versions reported in the Australian and New Zealand media even suggested that the Fiji government had been removed.

It was the military commander, Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama, who this week described the Peacekeepers Associatiion as a threat to national security after a regular soldier was detained for circulating a petition seeking the commander's removal.

Thousands of Fijian soldiers who served as peacekeepers in Lebanon will boycott a parade and celebrations today to mark the end of Fiji's service in Lebanon.