25 Mar 2008

Former PNG military boss sees no UN role for PNG troops

4:31 pm on 25 March 2008

Papua New Guinea's former Defence Force commander, Jerry Singirok, says the the nation's armed forces are too run down to supply troops for United Nations peacekeeping assignments.

The PNG parliament is currently considering a bill that if passed will pave the way for Papua New Guinea defence force members to take up UN peacekeeping positions.

The current commander of the PNG Defence Force, Commodore Peter Ilau, has said he expects 100 plus soldiers to be on assignment by mid next year.

But Major General Singirok says although he supports the idea in principle, the country cannot afford to further deplete its armed forces.

He says in the last 10 years the Defence Force has been reduced from 5200 to 2000.

"The Papua New Guinea Defence Forces, in its current state, cannot participate in international peacekeeping operations. Period."

Jerry Singirok