29 Apr 2009

Fiji rejects talk of UN peacekeeping ban

2:44 pm on 29 April 2009

Fiji's military government says the United Nations has not notifed it that Fijian soldiers will no longer be used for peacekeeping duties.

At present, more than 200 Fijian troops are involved in international peacekeeping operations.

Peacekeeping work is a signifcant revenue earner for Fiji, which has been involved in UN operations since 1978.

On Tuesday, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the UN would stop using Fijian troops after the suspension of Fiji's constitution on 10 April.

But Fiji's Permanent Secretary for Information, Lieutenant Colonel Neumi Leweni, says no correspondence has been received from the UN on the matter and will disregard the suggestion until getting confirmation from the UN.

The ABC reports that the Pacific Islands Forum is set to expel Fiji on Friday and the Commonwealth is considering similar action.

No suspension expected -Fiji

Fiji's interim government says it does not expect to be suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum.

A special forum summit to deal with Fiji in January issued an ultimatum to Suva to announce a 2009 election date by 1 May or face partial suspension.

Interim attorney-general Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has told Fijilive that interim prime minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama has informed the forum of recent developments in Fiji.

In 2007, Commodore Bainimarama promised elections by March 2009 but now he says this will not happen until September 2014 because the government wants to change the electoral system.

The forum is yet to say whether it will retract its expulsion threat.

Australia has said it wants to maintain the forum stance adopted in January.

The military seized power in December 2006 - the fourth coup since 1987.