Govt not notified of Fiji peacekeeping pullout

2:29 pm on 2 June 2016

New Zealand's involvement in peacekeeping in the Sinai Peninsula will be reviewed and Fiji has halted its mission because of safety concerns.

Minister of Defence Gerry Brownlee said the government was not notified that Fiji was pulling its peacekeeping out of the region between Egypt and Israel.

On Tuesday the Fijian military's director for peace support operations, Commander Humphrey Tawake, said 29 soldiers scheduled to depart for the region would no longer go, and all future missions had been halted.

Mr Brownlee said conflict in the region had escalated in recent years, with militants affiliated with Islamic State threatening to target peacekeeping camps.

Chief of Defence Force Tim Keating, left, Labour leader Andrew Little and Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee, fourth from left, talk to New Zealand and Australian troops in Iraq.

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee in Iraq. Photo: SUPPLIED

He said there were up to 35 Defence Force personnel there at any one time, with New Zealand having been a part of the mission since 1982.

"Having recently visited Egypt and Israel to discuss the situation on Sinai, both of those countries recognise the difficulties.

"They value the mission because it has kept significant peace for a very long time and the security for the mission is provided by the Egyptians and they do a good job at that."

Mr Browlee said the entire international mission was being reassessed, with a review of New Zealand's involvement due in July.

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