15 Feb 2007

Fiji peace keepers academy put on hold

7:11 pm on 15 February 2007

The Fiji military's plans to establish an academy for peacekeepers under the global peace initiative has been put on hold.

The project had been due to begin this year in conjunction with the United States Defence Forces.

The Fijilive news website quotes the deputy military commander, navy Captain Esala Teleni, as saying the US has suspended the programme and Fiji will just have to wait and see.

The move is part of the suspension of US defence cooperation with Fiji after the overthrow of the Qarase government in December.

The military will now provide peacekeeping training at its Officer Training School at Vatuwaqa in Suva.

Fiji peacekeepers around the world have won high commendation from the United Nations which this year recruited another 12 soldiers for duty in Iraq despite strong opposition from the New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark.