1 Sep 2014

Fiji will keep troops in Golan Heights

8:52 am on 1 September 2014

Fiji's military commander says withdrawing the country's troops from the Golan Heights between Syria and Israel is completely out of the question for the government.

Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga.

Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga. Photo: AFP

44 of the country's troops serving as part of a United Nations peacekeeping mission are currently being held captive by Syrian rebels after being detained during heavy fighting on Thursday.

There are more than 400 Fijian soldiers serving on the UN mission, and Fiji's military commander, Brigadier General Mosese Tikoitoga, says withdrawing them is not an option.

"We fully understand the responsibilities that we have as a good global citizen and our responsibilities as peacekeepers. We went there to do a job - we fully understand the mandate of the UN - and we will continue to do that job, not only for ourselves but also for the betterment of the world."

Mosese Tikoitoga.

Austria, Japan and Croatia have recently pulled their troops out of the Golan Heights due to the deteriorating security situation caused by spillover from the Syrian civil war.

Australia's Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, says she has telephoned the Fiji Prime Minister Bainimarama to express Australia's support, including intelligence resources, and says Australia will use its position on the UN Security Council to maintain focus on this issue.