29 Jan 2007

Fiji military wants to stay clear of arguments with NZ prime minister

3:25 pm on 29 January 2007

Fiji's military says it will not be drawn into a childish war of words with the New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark, over her continuous criticism of its operations.

The military spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni, has told the Fiji Times they have had enough of Ms Clark's childish comments and have decided not to respond to them.

Ms Clark has been lobbying the United Nations to stop employing Fiji soldiers on its peacekeeping missions but the UN, backed by Britain and the United States, has rejected the New Zealand approach.

Major Leweni says many countries which have undergone coups like Pakistan and Ghana remain big troop contributors to the UN.

About 500 Fiji troops are currently serving on United Nations missions around the world.