Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fiji Defence Minister Attends UN Security Conference in Tonga

RNZ Online/Pacific MediaWatch:

Defence Minister Ratu Epeli Ganilau is attending aUnited Nations conference on security governance in Tonga this week -the first international meeting for a Fiji government official since the constitution was revoked.The minister says he is ready to answer any questions at the conference regarding the military's role in past coups and the takeover of December 2006.He says the size of Fiji's military does not need to be cut, despitethe military playing a major role in three of the four coups in the last two decades.The conference, which starts on Monday, will look at securitychallenges in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga andVanuatu.Meanwhile, Fiji government spokesperson Major Neumi Leweni says the UNhas set a precedent in not stopping participation from countries suchas Pakistan and Zimbabwe, so Fiji will not be excluded frompeacekeeping missions.As at the end of March, Fiji was contributing 282 soldiers and policeofficers to UN peacekeeping missions

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