Posts tagged Golan Heights

Fijian Prime Minister Bainimarama Delivers Statement on the Release of 45 Peacekeepers


My fellow Fijians,

I’m delighted to announce to the nation that the 45 Fijian peacekeepers being detained in Syria have been released unharmed. They are now safely back in a United Nations compound, they are all healthy, they are in high spirits and they will soon be in contact with their families and loved ones here in Fiji.

Our men will need to be debriefed and they obviously deserve a period of rest before they return to their duties, but I know that they are all keen to continue their mission.

I know all Fijians join me in feeling a great sense of relief and joy, as well as a deep appreciation for all those who had a hand in securing their safe release, including the skilled group of UN negotiators and our superb team in New York and Suva, who worked constantly behind the scenes to produce this outcome. As a nation, we thank you.

These 45 men are heroes. They kept their cool and showed restraint under the most extreme circumstances imaginable. Because of their discipline, not one militant was killed and none of our soldiers were harmed. They upheld the integrity of UN peacekeeping and as a result have strengthened Fiji’s reputation in the international community.

We’ve shown the world our discipline and resolve and have maintained the respect and trust of the United Nations for our participation in present and future peacekeeping missions.

Peacekeeping is about providing a calm, stable and neutral presence in hotspots around the globe in order to ease tensions and prevent violence. Our men never once breached this mission and as a nation we should be extremely proud of their conduct.

As I often say, Fiji stands tall and proud in the world, and today because of these brave men, we stand even taller and prouder.

During this ordeal, the courage of the families has been remarkable. They were naturally distressed and anxious during this difficult time but they never once questioned why their loved ones were sent to the Golan Heights in the first place. They know better than anyone else that our mission is to bring peace and security to people living in troubled areas around the world.

It is a noble mission, which we will continue to perform whenever we are called on by the United Nations to serve. For the families, as for all Fijians, it is a matter of great pride that our peacekeepers are able to make such a significant contribution to the wellbeing of others who are less fortunate than us – who are vulnerable living in places that have been torn apart by division and violence.

I would like to thank all those who kept these men in their thoughts and prayers. I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for our soldiers from Fijians across the country, from all backgrounds and of all faiths. We care for each other like family and during times like this the welfare of the men and their families was never far from our minds.

As you all know, we united as a nation to pray for our men’s safe return and today our prayers have been answered.

God bless our peacekeepers, God bless their loved ones and God bless Fiji.

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama farewells troops for Golan Heights

Military: Be Just, Firm and Steadfast New Recruits Told

“Be just, firm and steadfast.” That was Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s message to the two hundred and seven (207) new Republic of Fiji Military Force (RFMF) recruits.

Speaking today at the recruits’ passing out parade, the Prime Minister told the newest members of the RFMF to uphold their oath of allegiance at all times. He reminded them that “greatness in the RFMF is not measured in your years of service or the rank you attain, but is measured by the sacrifice you are willing to make for the good of our nation.”

He told the troops to “remember you are now part of a service renowned all over the world for its gallantry – servicemen and women who have graced the battle fields of the past World Wars and peacekeeping operations in volatile areas of the world.”

“Our soldiers are putting their lives on the line on the other side of the world. Not waging war but keeping the peace, ensuring the safety of others. I will not be surprised to see some of you here today being called up for peacekeeping duties in the not too distant future,” he said.

During his address, the Prime Minister announced that 318 RFMF troops and 10 staff officers – who are currently undergoing training – are expected to deploy to the Golan Heights on July 22nd. He also announced that Cabinet has approved a Basic Recruit Course this year with the aim to add 450 personnel to the ranks of the RFMF, followed by another two recruitments of 450 personnel next year.

“This comes as a result of our commitment to the Golan Heights where we need personnel to supplement the Territorial Forces here at home and also personnel to conduct relieving duties to the regular soldiers away in Sinai, Iraq, and Syria,” he said.

Also present at the passing out parade was the Land Force Commander, Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga and other senior military officers.


The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, has announced that a further 380 Fijian troops are being sent to join the United Nations peacekeeping force in the Golan Heights.

The contingent will leave Fiji at the end of the month to link up with the 183 Fijians who have already been deployed in the troubled zone that separates Israel and Syria.

The Prime Minister made the announcement at an official dinner in Honiara at the end of the first day of his current visit to Solomon Islands.

He also revealed that Russia – a key player in the Middle East  – has offered to assist Fiji with the UN deployment.

He said that during his recent visit to Moscow, both the Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev and his Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, had endorsed Fiji’s participation and offered Russia’s help.

The Prime Minister said Fiji was also grateful for the support of its South Pacific neighbours for the deployment and especially its partners in the Melanesian Spearhead group.

He said his two-year tenure as Chair of the MSG – which concluded last month – had been an exciting time and the organisation had been able to achieve a great deal.

The dinner in Honiara was attended by more than 100 people, including the Governor-General and Prime Minister of the Solomons, Government ministers from both countries, diplomats and members of the Solomons and Fijian business communities.

The Prime Minister thanked Solomon Islands for honouring Fiji by inviting him to be Chief Guest at the celebrations tomorrow to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Solomons Independence.

The PM singled out several people in the audience for special mention, including three Fijian veterans of the Solomons campaign in World War Two -Sergeant Major Eliki Vuniwawa, Lance Corporal Ilimotama Wave and Commando Watisoni Seru.

He also highlighted the presence in the Fijian delegation of two senior Government officials, Pio Tikoduadua and Inia Seruiratu, who had both commanded Fijian peacekeepers under RAMSI – the Regional Assistance Mission To Solomon Islands.