1 Mar 2005

268 more Fiji troops for Iraq

4:38 pm on 1 March 2005

The United Nations has asked Fiji to provide another 268 troops for security and peacekeeping duties in Iraq.

The request is in addition to the 134 Fiji soldiers stationed in Iraq since November last year.

The military spokesman, Captain Neumi Leweni, has told the Fiji Times the army is now in the pre-deployment planning stage to meet the UN's request.

He says the military will then go to the government with a budget proposal, equipment requirements and manpower needs.

Two companies, with 134 soldiers in each, will be deployed in Basra and Arbil in Iraq.

Meanwhile, Fiji's public service commission has appointed Dr Lesi Korovavala as the new chief executive officer of the home affairs ministry, which has oversight of the military.

Dr Korovavala, a former army doctor, has been acting in the position since Col Jeremaia Waqanisau was forced to resign and take up the post of ambassador in China after Commodore Frank Bainimarama was re-appointed military commander one year ago.