10 Apr 2007

More Fiji troops to join Sinai peacekeeping forces

1:40 pm on 10 April 2007

More Fiji troops are leaving for peacekeeping duties abroad despite opposition from New Zealand and Australia and the Commonwealth secretary general, Don McKinnon.

The Daily Post reports that 23 Fiji troops left for Sinai yesterday to join the Multi-National Force and Observers.

The United States sponsored force supervises the implementation of the Egyptian - Israeli Peace Treaty in the Sinai Peninsula.

The military spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni, says another contingent of Fiji soldiers will leave for Sinai on April the 23rd.

A further 202 officers and troops will leave for Iraq at the end of the month to provide security for United Nations diplomats and staff in Baghdad.

These deployments of Fiji soldiers come despite lobbying against their employment by the New Zealand and Australian governments and Mr McKinnon who is a former New Zealand foreign minister.

Fiji's interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has thanked the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, for employing Fiji soldiers, adding that attempts to stop them in peacekeeping were also an attempt to hurt the common people of the country.