26 Sep 2005

Fiji's UN ambassador calls for more equipment for peacekeepers

6:49 am on 26 September 2005

Fiji's ambassador to the United Nations, Colonel Isikia Savua, says his country's troops need more equipment to serve in peacekeeping missions.

Colonel Savua has told the UN general assembly in New York that Fiji troops need to be better equipped to serve under the UN's new peacebuilding commission.

"If this assistance is not forthcoming soon, then peacekeeping is confined only to a select few, mainly from developed nations. Fiji acclaims the proposal for a peacebuilding commission. We will gladly share with such a commission our own experiences of reconstruction in our country, since the civil unrest which almost tore our country apart in 2000."

Colonel Savua says Fiji deserves a prominent role on the Peacebuilding Commission because of its long service, and not because of the level of its financial contributions to the UN.

Meanwhile, Colonel Savua also says the Fiji Reconciliation Bill is going through a democratic process of consultation.

He says countries like Fiji appreciate the ideals of democracy and human rights but should not be held to unrealistic standards, but instead be judged on the progress it makes towards those goals.

Colonel Savua is still thought to be under investigation in Fiji for his role in the 2000 coup.