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40th Anniversary Celebration For Peacekeeping Contribution

  The Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) will hold the celebration for the 40th Anniversary of Fiji’s contribution to the United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping this year. Director Peacekeeping Operations
27 Feb 2018 11:00
40th Anniversary Celebration For Peacekeeping Contribution
Ratu Epeli Nailatikau

 

The Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) will hold the celebration for the 40th Anniversary of Fiji’s contribution to the United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping this year.

Director Peacekeeping Operations and Advisor to the RFMF Commander, Lieutenant-Colonel (Lt Col) Pacolo Luveni said they were in the planning stage and no date had been confirmed. The celebration will be held in Suva.

He said they were contacting former President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau as he led the first deployment of soldiers to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in 1978.

He was a Lieutenant Colonel then and now he is a Brigadier-General.

Addressing a military parade at the Queens Elizabeth’s Barracks last November, RFMF Commander Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto said: “Next year we will be part of three big events. We have the 40th Anniversary of Peacekeeping celebrations, the General Election and the Sukuna Bowl challenge.”

Addressing the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at UN headquarters in New York City, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said: “Mr President, next year will mark the 40th anniversary of Fiji’s contribution to UN Peacekeeping.”

He added: “As a small nation, we have suffered a great deal of pain from the loss of some of our finest troops on peacekeeping duties over the years.

“But this contribution is a very important part of how we see ourselves as a nation – our men and women in uniform serving the global community by protecting ordinary people in troubled parts of the world.”

For 40 years, he said Fiji had helped to make the world more secure.

Chronology of Peacekeeping Missions as supplied from the RFMF:

1978 – 2004

Peacekeeping Mission with United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in Lebanon. Deployment of the first battalion was led by Lt-Col Epeli Nailatikau, former president of Fiji

 

1979

Fiji Observer Group for Africa (FOGA), the transitional force was led by Major Aca Soqosoqo.

Mission completed after three months

1982

A Battalion was deployed to the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt for peacekeeping mission with the Multinational Force & Observers. The first battalion was led by Lt-Col Jim Sanday

 

1988

RFMF officers invited and deployed as observers in war-torn Afghanistan. Mission completed in 1993

 

1991

RFMF officers were invited by UN as observers following ‘Operation Desert Storm’ led by US Forces in Iraq

 

1992 – 1993

RFMF officers were invited as observers with United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNISOM).

 

1994

A coalition of Pacific Island Forces was invited to intervene in revolution warfare in Bougainville. The mission was codenamed ‘Operation Blue Lagoon’.

The mission was sponsored by the Australian Government and was led by Lt-Col Savenaca Draunidalo.

 

2000 – 2005

Company strength was deployed to East Timor to serve on a peacekeeping mission codenamed the ‘International Force East Timor (INTERFET)’ which was sponsored by the Australian Government.

The United Nations later took over the mission which was codenamed the ‘United Nations Transition Assistance East Timor.’

The first deployment was led by Commander (Navy) Lesi Natuva.

 

2003

Company strength was deployed to the Solomon Islands to serve on regional mission with the Regional Assistance Mission Solomon Islands (RAMSI)

 

2004

RFMF was invited by United Nations to observe and secure UN positions, installations and personnel in Iraq under the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI). The first deployment was led by Lt-Col Meli Saubulinayau

 

2013

RFMF deployed battalion strength of peacekeepers to serve in Syria (Golan Heights) following the withdrawal of the Austrian Defence Force from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).

Later, a company plus strength of Fijibatt personnel were re-deployed to UNIFIL to furnish the needs of the UN on that mission.

According to the chief of staff, Brigadier-General Ratu Jone Kalouniwai Fiji had volunteered for these peacekeeping duties when other nations had withdrawn.

 

Number of current serving peacekeepers supplied by RFMF:

United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (Golan) – 303

United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon – 147

United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq – 168

Multi-National Force and Observers (Sinai, Egypt) – 170

United Nations Mission in South Sudan – 6

United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation – 2

Edited by Mohammed Zulfikar

Feedback:  maikab@fijisun.com.fj

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