3 Feb 2009

Fiji military eyes more equipment in bid to get international peacekeeping work

1:10 pm on 3 February 2009

Fiji's interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has told Radio Fiji that the country's political situation won't affect its engagement in international peacekeeping duties.

Commodore Bainimarama, who is also the military commander, says it would be easier if the Fiji armed forces had equipment like tanks to be able to provide a mechanised battalion to operations in the Middle East.

Last year, the interim defence minister, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, confirmed that the UN stopped hiring new Fiji peacekeepers after the 2006 military coup led by Commodore Bainimarama.

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

But Commodore Bainimarama says he is now looking into ways of acquiring equipment for the country to qualify in areas of peacekeeping where Fiji is missing out.