1 May 2003

Fiji government looking for work for peacekeeping troops

10:18 am on 1 May 2003

The Fiji government has turned down a request to send peacekeeping troops to Africa.

This is despite Fiji's keenness to send peacekeeping troops to other parts of the world, including Afghanistan and Iraq.

The minister for home affairs, Joketani Cokanasiga, says the government believes ethnic tensions in Africa will expose Fiji troops to great risk.

Fiji is looking for more employment opportunities for its soldiers abroad and is lobbying strongly to be part of any UN peacekeeping force sent to Afghanistan or Iraq.

A battalion of more than 600 Fiji troops returned home in December last year after more than 24 years of peacekeeping duties in Southern Lebanon.

Fiji troops remain deployed in the Multinational Force and Observers in Sinai.