Arms Boost From Russia
Russian arms and equipment for our peacekeepers arrived in Suva yesterday.
The consignment is the outcome of an initiative by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to better equip our peacekeepers in some of the world’s increasingly volatile trouble spots.
Republic of Fiji Military Forces Acting Commander, Rear-Admiral Viliame Naupoto said last night: “I can confirm to you now that small arms from Russia have arrived into the country and are at Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua.”
Customs officers, he said, would inspect the shipment today.
The consignment also consisted of two mobile mechanical workshops to be used in disasters and simulators. It was brought in by a Russian ship escorted into the Suva Harbour by a Fijian navy boat.
“I must thank the Government of Russia for the timely donation,” Rear Admiral Naupoto said.
The formal handover to the RFMF, he said, would be some time in February because it was Russian aid.
He said the arrival of the new equipment was timely especially for the small arms to be used by the peacekeepers. He said the peacekeepers needed new arms because they were operating in volatile areas.
“They are using outdated arms,” he said.
When Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama visited Russia in June 2013, the first ever by a Fijian leader, he witnessed with his Russian counterpart, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the signing of new protocols on military and technical co-operation; a mutual visa exemption scheme; co-operation in tackling money laundering, the proceeds of crime and the financing of terrorism; public health assistance; and university exchanges between Russia’s Far East University and the Fiji National University.
Rear-Admiral Naupoto said Facebook reports of the Russian arms were wrong.
“I need to set things straight. Don’t believe in Facebook postings,” he said.
Opposition Whip and spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Ratu Isoa Tikoca, claimed the consignment included 20 containers of arms, trucks and a helicopter and that Police were barred from the offloading of the containers.
Rear-Admiral Naupoto said he had been working closely with the Police and they were also involved in the offloading and transportation of the arms to the Queen Elizabeth’s Barracks.
Edited by Naisa Koroi