FIJI SOLDIERS TO LEAVE FOR EAST TIMOR MONDAY

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (December 8, 1999 – Fiji’s Daily Post)---Fiji soldiers will leave for East Timor on Monday.

However, Chief of Staff Colonel Ratu George Kadavulevu said the soldiers still are waiting for the Australian Army to assemble all the equipment to be used.

"We are still awaiting Australia to call us once they have all the equipment assembled together," Colonel Kadavulevu said.

Staff Sergeant Tony Wright from the New Zealand Army and Australian Army Captain Paul Stanton briefed the soldiers at the local camp yesterday morning on the situation and what is expected of them in East Timor.

Sergeant Wright said Fiji's presence will make a difference in East Timor because of their experience.

"Fiji soldiers are very experienced because they have been exposed to difficult situations like in Lebanon and Sinai," he said, addressing the soldiers in Fijian.

"We have traveled from East Timor to brief these soldiers on the rules of engagement."

He said Fiji will add to the number of countries already serving under INTERFET in East Timor.

The other countries are Canada, New Zealand, Kenya, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, North Korea and Brazil.

Captain Stanton said every country has an area of operation to look after but Fiji has been designated to serve with the New Zealand Battalion.

Sergeant Wright said the presence of the INTERFET in East Timor has curbed the activity of the Indonesian militia army, who were burning houses and torturing of their own people.

Captain Stanton said the situation in East Timor is stable.

The Australian Army, through their headquarters bases at Townsville and Darwin, is looking after all foreign forces.

Captain Stanton said all they go through either city for their training, briefing and equipment assignments before they fly to East Timor.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fiji Live.

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