FIJI MILITARY KEEN TO SEND MORE TROOPS OVERSEAS

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (June 2, 2002 - The Fiji Times/PINA Nius Online)---Fiji military leaders want to continue to send troops on peacekeeping operations in troubled regions of the world, despite turning down opportunities in Burundi and Congo.

Spokesperson Captain Ned Taito said, "Talks were held this year for the possible deployment of our men to Burundi and the Republic of Congo but the government shelved it because it was concerned about the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in these countries."

Home Affairs permanent secretary Jeremaia Waqanisau said a committee had been established to discuss options for 500 peacekeepers returning from Lebanon. This comes as the Fiji battalion's service with the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon ends.

Fiji has soldiers and police officers on peacekeeping and peace monitoring duties around the world, including the Middle East, Balkans, East Timor and Bougainville.

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