27 Sep 2004

Fiji Government waiting on Iraq reconnaissance report before final agreement on soldiers deployment

3:51 pm on 27 September 2004

The Fiji Government says its concern about the deteriorating situation in Iraq is the main reason it has delayed a final decision on sending peacekeepers there.

After months of consideration, the Fiji Cabinet has put off deciding when to send military peacekeepers, who are to guard the United Nations headquarters in Iraq.

The Cabinet had approved the deployment in principle, and the military had hoped the peacekeepers would leave early next month.

The Fiji Information Minister, Simione Kaitani, says Cabinet backs the deployment but not until a military reconnaissance team has been to Iraq and reported back.

Mr Kaitani says security concerns are behind the delay.

"We are very worried and that is the main reason why the reconnaissance team is now going to conduct the final investigation of the situation in Iraq before coming back to government. That is actually the main reason why the reconnaissance team has been endorsed to be undertraken before the team ctually leaves."

Fiji Information Minister Simione Kaitani.