24 May 2005

Fiji army opposes proposed cuts

3:36 pm on 24 May 2005

The Fiji army says it is opposed to any reductions in the numbers of its ranks because it will not be able to maintain its current commitments.

A spokesman, Captain Neumi Leweni, was speaking after a local media report that a defence review of the force is suggesting the military's numbers be reduced by half from just over 3,000 to about 1,600.

The defence review is also reported to state that Fiji doesn't need a large army because there's no external threat.

But, Captain Leweni says this may be correct but there are other issues.

"We've said before that there are internal threats, and that's why we need to keep the numbers to be able to face the threat whenever it appears."

Captain Leweni says they also need to have the numbers to meet their peacekeeping commitments.

He says the defence review has been with the Ministry of Home Affairs for some time but there has been no timeline or discussions with the army about implementing it.