Showing posts with label UN Peacekeeping missions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UN Peacekeeping missions. Show all posts

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fiji and PNG Defense Cooperation.

In the wake of a successful Fiji business delegation and State visit to Papua New Guinea (PNG), a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is being drawn up, detailing the terms of a proposed Defense cooperation between Fiji and PNG.

The Fiji Military, with many years of operational experience in peacekeeping missions under the United Nations (UN) banner, are earmarked to train PNG army officers. Fiji's Permanent Secretary of Defence, Jale Fotofili also outlined the possibility of a joint Fiji/PNG operation in peacekeeping missions, in an interview with FBC TV news (video posted below).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Truth or Dare?

Fiji anti-IG blog posting raises some important questions about U.S selective policy regarding their own interests, on which there is no debate.
Intelligentsiya: Truth and Rhetoric: Why the US selectively backs F...: "When fellow bloggers from Real Fiji News posted up their expose on the US's tacit support (despite all the rich political rhetoric ) [...]"

Radio Fiji (R.F)article on the matter. Excerpt of R.F article below:
Cables confirm Qarase sought Australia military intervention
Friday, August 12, 2011

Leaked cables released by Wikileaks confirm that Fiji's former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase sought the intervention of the Australian Military during the December 2006 takeover.

According to the cable - then Australian Prime Minister John Howard told the press on December 5, 2006 - that Qarase had telephoned him that morning to request for military intervention to prevent a coup.

Howard stated he had declined the request as it was 'not in Australia's national interest' to intervene - adding he could not countenance Australian and Fijian troops fighting each other on the streets of Suva.

In response to the takeover - Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer imposed bans on defense, travel and trade on Fiji.

Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) article outlines Australian Government efforts to side line Fiji from UN peacekeeping.

Excerpt of SMH article:
Push to block Fiji from UN peacekeeping
Jonathan Pearlman Foreign Affairs Correspondent
April 29, 2009

THE Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, says the United Nations should look at punishing Fiji's military rulers by further limiting the involvement of its soldiers in peacekeeping forces - a move that would seriously damage the country's economy.

Australia and New Zealand have been leading efforts to pressure Fiji's interim government over its recent abrogation of the constitution and crackdown on the media and the judiciary.

Covered ... Fiji's economy is reliant on peacekeeping payments.
Photo: AP

(Note by SiFM Image above was from 1996 Qana massacre, caused by Israeli shelling of a Fiji BATT UN refugee compound, where dead bodies were cropped out. It was covenient for SMH to omit the origin of the image, ironically, 15 year anniversary is in 2011.)

Original Caption: The bodies of Shiite Muslim refugees lay covered by blankets at the headquarters of the Fijian battalion attached to the U.N. peacekeeping forces in the village of Qana, Lebanon Thursday, April 18, 1996 after Israeli shelling killing at least 70 and wounding at least 100. (AP Photo)   

More images of 1996 Qana massacre. Journalist  Robert Fisk eye-witness account of Qana.  Video of incident. BBC article.
The country's military ruler, Frank Bainimarama, seized power in a bloodless coup in 2006 and has backed away from earlier plans to hold elections this year.
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Mr Rudd discussed the crackdown at a meeting in Canberra yesterday with Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare. The two agreed to press ahead with efforts to suspend Fiji from the Pacific Islands Forum. "Australia's position is hardline," Mr Rudd said. "You cannot sustain within a family of democracies [such as] the Pacific Island Forum or the Commonwealth a government like that of Fiji which simply treats with contempt the most fundamental democratic institutions and press freedoms.

"Through our interventions with the United Nations, supported by New Zealand and other countries, the UN now is not going to engage future Fijian troops for new operations. There is a question which now arises as to whether there should be a further tightening on top of that."

Fiji's economy is heavily reliant on UN payments for peacekeeping contributions and remittances from soldiers abroad. About 600 soldiers serve as peacekeepers in Lebanon, Iraq, East Timor and in the Sinai.

Fiji's interim government dismissed claims it would not be allowed to provide further peacekeepers, saying the UN had not taken action against other countries that have had coups.

"Precedents have been set, like Pakistan, Thailand, all these are very big troop contributing countries to the UN, so what are they talking about?" a government spokesman, Neumi Leweni, told the news website Fijilive.

Two commentators on Fiji from the Australian National University, Jon Fraenkel and Stewart Firth, have argued in a new book that UN peacekeeping operations helped build up the strength of Fiji's military and led to the coups in 1987 and 2006.

"Over the 30 years since 1978, around 25,000 Fiji soldiers have served on overseas peace-keeping missions, bringing home an estimated $US300 million [$428 million]," they write in The 2006 Military Takeover in Fiji: A Coup to End All Coups?, published by ANU E Press.

"In recent years the Iraq War has brought more income to Fiji … Tens of thousands of Fijians have served in foreign theatres in almost 30 years of peacekeeping … The overall effect has been to boost the morale of officers and troops … and to professionalise the [force] as a military institution."

Although, Australian Government efforts coupled with an online petition drive by the likes of overseas based Fijian political opportunists were ineffective and Fiji continued its commitment to peacekeeping missions unabated.

Fiji reiterates commitment to UN peacekeeping

05-10-2011 15:12 BJT
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SUVA, May 10 (Xinhua) -- Fiji has reiterated its firm commitment to peacekeeping and peace-building around the world, saying it is a manifestation of the island nation's trust in the multilateralism of the United Nations.

Fiji's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Peter Thomson made the remarks in a speech during his recent visit to the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) first Battalion at its Baghdad garrison, the Ministry of Information said in a press release Tuesday.

For all Fijians, "it can be said with great national pride, that from just a few years after Fiji's independence, UN peacekeeping has been central to Fiji's foreign policy," Thomson was quoted as saying.

This has been so because "Fiji is determined to play a positive role as a signatory to the United Nations Charter, and because small countries like ours depend on membership of the United Nations for our security, sovereignty and independence," he said.

According to the Fijian envoy, to date, Fiji's peacekeepers have served in Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Croatia, Kosovo, Lebanon, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Sinai, Solomon Islands, Somalia and Timor Leste.

In thanking the Fijian men and women peacekeeping soldiers in Baghdad, Thomson praised them for "doing a difficult job in a dangerous environment and holding Fiji's name high".

The RFMF first Battalion has since 2004 served as the UN Guard Unit (UNGU), made up of 223 Fijians led by Colonel Netani Rika. It is tasked with guarding the facilities and personnel of the United Nations as they undertake their work of assisting the Iraqi people rebuild their nation.

Thomson said he had heard nothing but praise from UN representatives in New York and Iraq for the battalion's conduct of duties, adding he was in Iraq to show them the respect they deserved and to thank them on behalf of the government and people of Fiji for their service.

Posted below are videos of Fiji soldiers in Iraq interacting with US personnel.