3 Apr 2007

United Nation's rejects Commonwealth request to stop using Fiji troops

10:56 am on 3 April 2007

The United Nations has rejected a request from the Commonwealth Secretariat to stop using Fiji troops in its peacekeeping missions.

The Fijilive news website says the Commonwealth secretary general, Don McKinnon, asked the new UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, to stop using Fiji troops because of last year's military coup.

The report says Mr McKinnon used the "ethical issue" of paying hundreds of Fiji troops as peacekeepers in Iraq and elsewhere.

But Mr Ban is quoted as having told Mr McKinnon that the UN needs the Fiji peacekeepers.

About 300 Fiji troops guard United Nations facilities in Iraq.

Mr McKinnon's request to the UN to stop using Fiji troops followed similar requests by the New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark, and the Australia foreign minister, Alexander Downer.

Both those requests were rebuffed.