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RUDD WON’T BACK DOWN FROM UN COMMENTS Still unconfirmed whether Fiji peacekeeping will continue

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 6, 2009) – The Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is standing by his claim that the United Nations has decided to take no soldiers from military ruled Fiji for new peacekeeping operations, though he appears to be at odds with the UN.

Mr. Rudd made the claim last week during a news conference in Canberra with the visiting Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare.

Rudd's office says the Prime Minister stands by his comment.

The UN Secretary General's spokesperson has since reiterated that UN policy is to consider offers of troops for peacekeeping operations on a case by case basis.

That position has been restated to Radio Australia by the chief of public affairs at the UN's Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York, Nick Birnback.

"I don't have a specific comment on what a politician from a member state says," he said.

"What I can tell you is that if there were to be a new mission that we needed troops for and that we got an offer from an individual country, we would consider the merits of that offer on a case by case basis."

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