PM Praises Peacekeepers’ Proud Legacy

Fijian peacekeepers who are serving abroad carry on a proud Fijian legacy that stretches far back as the First World War. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama made these remarks at the
16 Jun 2018 11:00
PM Praises Peacekeepers’ Proud Legacy
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with former UN peacekeeper Sakaraia Vuli at the 40th Fiji-UN Anniversary Symposium at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on June 15, 2018. Photo: DEPTFO News

Fijian peacekeepers who are serving abroad carry on a proud Fijian legacy that stretches far back as the First World War.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama made these remarks at the closing of a symposium to mark the 40th anniversary of the Fiji’s participation in peacekeeping missions under the United Nations umbrella.

The symposium was held at Suva’s Grand Pacific Hotel.

Mr Bainimarama said the anniversary’s theme “Fiji’s sacrifice for global peace” could not be more appropriate because Fiji gave a great deal for the sake of global peace.

“As a result, countless vulnerable people have been kept safe in the world over and that legacy has been the pride of generations of Fijians,” he said.

“For the past 40 years, Fijian peacekeepers have defended the defenceless, protecting innocent civilians and children in areas around the world fraught with danger and conflict.”

Mr Bainimarama said that for more than a century Fijians have answered the call of the vulnerable, bravely risking their lives for the sake of peace, wherever and whenever the need arose.

“Driven solely by the pursuit of peace, Fijian soldiers have braved some of the most dangerous and volatile regions on Earth; their service spans decades and continents.”

Fijian soldiers have served in the Middle East, from the Sinai Peninsula to Kuwait, Iraq, and Syria.

In Africa, from Darfur to South Sudan, Liberia and Namibia. From as far as Eastern Europe in Bosnia and Kosovo, to Asia-Pacific nations such as Cambodia, Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands.

Mr Bainimarama said Fijian peacekeepers stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the finest military forces on the planet, working to build a more harmonious future for the world’s children to inherit.

“No matter how different the regions they serve, throughout these 40 years of service one thing has remained constant: our Fijian peacekeepers have sacrificed, they have persevered and they have brought immeasurable honour, glory and pride to our great nation.

“No matter where they have served or what odds they have faced, our UN peacekeepers have been an unyielding shield that has protected the innocent from forces that would seek to destroy them.”

He said the legacy of Fijian peacekeepers continued to this day through the nearly 900 brave Fijians currently serving as UN peacekeepers around the world; all of whom are worthy successors to the proud legacy of excellence forged by the 30,000 Fijian peacekeepers who have served over the past 40 years.

Meanwhile, the President, Major General (ret’d) Jioji Konrote, said 40 years was a long time for a nation to be committed to the cause of global peace and Fijians owed thanks to the many individuals and parties who made peacekeeping operations possible.

He said that national leaders in the 1970s who initiated the idea for Fiji to be involved in peacekeeping operations included Fiji’s first Prime Minister Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara and his government and Fiji’s first local Commander of the RFMF Colonel Paul Manueli.

Mr Konrote thanked the United Nations for affording Fiji the opportunity to participate in peacekeeping, thanked the host countries where Fijian troops stayed at and continue to be based in.

He also thanked the families of the 56 servicemen who made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of global peace.

Mr Konrote himself was a former UNIFIL force commander and United Nations assistant Secretary-General.

Edited by Epineri Vula


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