19 Dec 2008

Fiji Defence Ministry denies UN ban on peacekeepers

4:25 pm on 19 December 2008

The Fiji Defence Ministry is denying any knowledge of a United Nations decision to ban the recruitment of Fiji troops for new missions.

Reports of such a ban persist despite denials from the UN headquarters in New York.

The Citizens Constitutional Forum says it's aware that the UN stopped deploying Fiji peacekeepers after the 2006 coup.

But the Interim Minister for Defence, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, says although no troops from his country have been used for any new peacekeeping missions since that time, he's not aware of any ban.

"We haven't been invited to participate in any other operations for the moment but you know we're not in a position here to dictate whether we should be participating or not but if there is an interest shown by the UN body for Fiji troops to be involved in peacekeeping operations we will consider it."

Ratu Epeli Ganilau says it's possible that in not selecting peacekeeping troops from his country the UN is taking Fiji's political situation into account.