29 Apr 2017

Fiji talks to Qatar about being safe haven for soldiers

11:23 am on 29 April 2017

Fiji is holding talks with the Qatari Government to include the Middle East country as a safe haven for Fijian soldiers on peacekeeping missions if tension in the region escalates.

This was confirmed to Parliament by Defence Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola after a question from SODELPA MP Viliame Gavoka on the exit strategies in place for Fijian peacekeepers.

Ratu Inoke said Fiji was working with Qatar.

Fiji Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola

Ratu Inoke says the safety of troops is paramount Photo: supp

The Fiji Times reports Ratu Inoke told Parliament there were 811 active Fijian peacekeepers who were serving across six different missions around the world.

Ratu Inoke said there were already earmarked safe havens in other countries which Fiji had existing defence agreements with, such as the United States of America and Israel.

He says exit strategies are mission specific and there is continuous surveillance should an extraction from a mission be neccesary.

Ratu Inoke says the strategies are shaped by the troops themselves.

He also moved to assure the nation that the safety of the troops was paramount.

Last year Fiji put on a hold on missions to the Sinai Peninisula as tensions mounted in the area.

In 2015, three Fijian soldiers were injured in separate attacks, while in 201445 soldiers were held captive by Syrian rebels for a short period of time before being released.

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