Thousands of people today braved the drizzling rain and strong winds to join the President His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to officially farewell Fijian troops leaving for Syrian Golan Heights at Albert Park.

Ratu Epeli reminded the soldiers that they will be working in a volatile environment.

“The situation calls for dedication, teamwork and courage and the highest level of discipline both regimental and personal,” Ratu Epeli said.

He encouraged them to be professional in carrying out their duties.

“We have always risen to the occasion and earned the respect of those around us. I am confident that on this mission you will do the same,” Ratu Epeli added.

Ratu Epeli also commended relatives of the soldiers who braved the rain this morning to farewell their loved ones.

“Your strength in keeping the home base safe and secure will contribute in a big way to the success of our troops on deployment. It is heartening to see you turn out in numbers today. This is a reassuring sign of your support. The nation thanks you,” Ratu Epeli said.

Fiji Ex-servicemen Association vice president Mr Panapasa Vakacegu said the association wished the troops well for their deployment in Golan Heights.

“It was a wonderful site watching our brave soldiers marching during the parade this morning. On behalf of our association I am wishing them the best in trying to keep peace in the Syrian Golan Heights,”  Mr Vakacegu said.

The soldiers will depart Fiji on Wednesday June 26, 2013.