11 Jul 2003

Fiji needs guarantee of overseas funding before troops go to Iraq

4:05 pm on 11 July 2003

A report from Fiji says the deployment of the country's troops to Iraq will depend on funding from other countries.

Radio Fiji quotes the secretary for home affairs, Col Jeremaia Waqanisau, as saying that unlike other peacekeeping missions, the Iraq deployment will be non-reimbursable.

He says that is why funding from donor countries has to be sought first.

Col Waqanisau says talks for funding worth 30-million US dollars are going on with three countries in the Asia Pacific region.

An earlier report has named these as Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Col Waqanisau says the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, will leave soon for Poland for a conference where an agreement will be signed by countries which will send troops to Iraq.

If Fiji soldiers are sent to Iraq, about 700 troops will be deployed in the Polish controlled sector of the country.

Four senior officiers led by the Land Force Commander, Colonel Iowane Naivalurua, are already in Iraq as part of a logistics reconnaissance party.