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Govt To Continue To Seek UN/Fiji Peacekeeper Ban

Foreign Affairs: NZ Govt To Continue To Seek UN/Fiji Peacekeeper Ban

By Selwyn Manning and Kevin List

The New Zealand Government will continue to lobby the United Nations seeking a ban on Fiji's soldiers taking part in peacekeeping operations around the world.

The response followed a Scoop Media investigation that reported the United Nations secretary general's office stating Fiji's military contributions to UN peacekeeping operations would be now considered on a case-by-case basis. See... STATE OF IT by Selwyn Manning - UN To Consider Fiji On "Case By Case Basis"

A spokesperson for New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark, said: "New Zealand remains opposed to the United Nations using Fijian peace keepers in its operations, and will continue to strongly press the point with the UN on this matter."

In communications between Scoop Media and the United Nations secretary general's office, spokesperson, Yves Sorokobi, said: "The United Nations is grateful for the service provided by Fijian personnel to UN peacekeeping operations over many years and for the Fijian personnel currently serving in dangerous UN assignments, including in Iraq.

"Any new contribution," Yves Sorokobi said "will be evaluated on a case by case basis, as with all troop-contributing countries."

The Scoop investigation revealed Fiji now has 17 extra personnel taking part in peacekeeping operations than it had in December 2006 when the Pacific island republic's military conducted a coup, overthrowing the democratically elected government. Fiji also has more soldiers committed to UN peacekeeping operations than Australia and New Zealand.

In response, a spokesperson for the New Zealand foreign minister, Winston Peters, told Scoop: "New Zealand believes it is inappropriate for troops from Fiji to take part in UN operations at a time when the Fiji military has overthrown a democratically-elected government. We are also aware of the financial value of peacekeeping duties for Fiji's military," the spokesperson said.

He said: "However we also understand the difficult balancing act that the United Nations faces.

"The United Nations did strongly condemn last year's coup in Fiji and has continued to push for a return to democratic rule there.

"However, the United Nations also struggles to recruit professional and well-trained troops for peacekeeping duties in areas where those soldiers are potentially preventing civilian deaths from conflict. As a result they have often been forced to accept deployments from nations whose domestic human rights records are questionable," the spokesperson said.

For more on this issue, See…

Scoop Investigation: UN To Consider Fiji Military On "Case By Case Basis"

Image: United Nations Plaza, First Avenue, New York State Of It: - by Selwyn Manning, Scoop Co-Editor - The New Zealand and Australian governments have suffered a set-back in moves to have the United Nations ban Fiji's military-led government from deploying its soldiers to UN peacekeeping operations. In response to Scoop's questions the United Nations secretary general's office said it will consider Fiji's contributions on a "case by case basis". Yves Sorokobi, spokesperson for the Secretary-General's office of the United Nations, told Scoop: "Any new contribution will be evaluated on a case by case basis, as with all troop-contributing countries." More >>


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