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Colonel Kalouniwai To Discuss New Role With RFMF Commander

Colonel Ro Jone Kalouniwai is looking forward to taking up his new role in the Republic of the Fiji Military Forces. The 48-year-old returned last week after serving as Chief
23 Jan 2017 11:00
Colonel Kalouniwai To Discuss New Role With RFMF Commander
Colonel Ro Jone Kalouniwai.

Colonel Ro Jone Kalouniwai is looking forward to taking up his new role in the Republic of the Fiji Military Forces.

The 48-year-old returned last week after serving as Chief of Staff for the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) for the past two years.

This was a key role in the daily running of the force of troops from eight nations stationed on the troubled Syria-Israel border in the Golan Heights. Fijian troops play a frontline role.

Colonel Kalouniwai said his new role in the RFMF has not been confirmed yet; however he said they would discuss his new role with the RFMF Commander, Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto, today.

In an earlier interview, Rear Admiral Naupoto said he looked forward to having Colonel Kalouniwai back.

Colonel Kalouniwai said: “I will be meeting the RFMF leadership on Monday and hopefully they will assign me new responsibilities.

“I am coming back with a lot of experiences and lessons that I have learnt from serving with UNDOF.”

He said he also looked to help build RFMF with vast experience he obtained in the last two years.

“I am very much looking forward to working with the leadership in RFMF, we are able to see what’s happening within it when you are outside and then we can recognise what to do, I will help them,” he said.

Colonel Kalouniwai said upon his return he helped our Fijian troops who are facing challenges while serving under the UNDOF.

While he was UNDOF Chief of Staff, 70 military officers from 10 different countries were under his responsibility at force headquarters.

He said monitoring their responsibilities was among his role and overseeing that the objectives from the Force Commander were met.

Colonel Kalouniwai said in 2015 the UNDOF troops had left Syria and moved into Israel amidst the fighting on the Syrian side and intrusion of Islamic militant forces.

He said there was a requirement from the UN headquarters in New York for the UNDOF to start planning their return process as the Syrian government forces regained control of the area.

“I had to plan all the processes and it was a very big challenge to undertake that particular responsibility,” he said.

He said fortunately they managed to get back to Syria after all the planning processes were completed.

Colonel Kalouniwai said there around 150 troops currently stationed in the old UNDOF headquarters in Syria.

He said they had achieved a lot in the last two years.

The whole operation environment in Syria he said was complex considering the military and political situation.

He said they had to cross through Lebanon to Damascus from Israel in order to get into Syria.

Colonel Kalouniwai said the complexity in which the operation was conducted seems to be the biggest challenge.

“We had to consider both the political and military situation, the mission itself even though it was military oriented, we had to be very sensitive between Israel and Syria and also Lebanon. There was a very big challenge here in us trying to satisfy the political figures on both sides to get their confidence so that we conduct operations into Syria,” he said.

He said the biggest achievement was the ability for UNDOF to move back into Syria.

 

Edited by Paula Tuvuki

Feedback: arieta.vakasukawaqa@fijisun.com.fj

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