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Fiji ‘Has Made Its Mark’

Fiji ‘Has Made Its Mark’
Some of the first group of soldiers who served at Lebanon in 1978 under the leadership of Fiji’s former President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau at Subrail Park in Labasa on June 13, 2018. Photo: Nacanieli Tuilevuka
June 14
10:00 2018

Fiji has made its mark and left a lasting and enduring lega­cy in terms of peacekeeping duties under the United Nations umbrella and given the ultimate sacrifice soldiers have made in the service of global peace.

This was the comment by Tui Macuata Ratu Wiliame Katonivere while officiating at the Fiji-United Nations anniversary celebrations at Subrail Park in Labasa yesterday.

This week marks 40 years of Fiji’s participation in UN peacekeeping operations as a troop provider.

The first contingent of 500 Fijian soldiers departed for Lebanon in 1978 to help confirm Israel’s with­drawal and to aid the restoration of peace and Lebanese government rule.

Fifty-six Fijian peacekeepers have died in active UN service over the past four decades.

Ratu Wiliame said Fijian sol­diers contributed a lot to building our reputation and recognition as peacekeepers.

“Not only did it spread Fiji’s foot­print around the globe, it contribut­ed to the very essence of our partic­ipation in various United Nations and international programmes,” he said.

“It may well be attributed to the ultimate sacrifice that our men and women in uniform have made in the service. Today is a day of cele­bration, a day of remembrance and reflection of the selfless sacrifice our troops made for the preserva­tion of global peace.

“The journey for us began 40 years ago just gaining independence and looking for a way to contribute to nation building and effectively par­ticipate in global affairs.

“We pay tribute to our leaders at the time for their vision to involve Fiji for the greater good in the pur­suance of global peace, and peace­keeping was the answer to our lead­ers’ intentions.

“Our leaders may have passed on, but their vision has become a real­ity and its impact continues to be a resonating factor until today,” he said.

A moment of silence was observed at Subrail Park after a march through Labasa town yesterday morning. This was to commemo­rate the lives lost in the line of duty.

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: nacanieli.tuilevuka@fijisun.com.fj

 

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