THE United Nations has put a ban on deploying Fiji troops in any new peacekeeping duties overseas particularly those that are being managed by the world body.
The Fiji Times has been reliably informed that the Republic of the Fiji Military Forces will continue to serve in existing deployments but all new assignments are stopped.
The directive, according to the source, came from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who dispatched a UN delegation to Fiji last month as his response to a UN Security Council call for the restoration of democracy in the country.
The source also confirmed that the ban notice was not made public when it was relayed to the interim Government. Interim Minister of Defence, National Security and Immigration, Ratu Epeli Ganilau said this was not true.
"If something like that was on the horizon, we would expect to hear it and not come in as a bang. It would come through my portfolio but I have not heard anything," he said.
Fiji's current peacekeeping missions include the Multinational Forces & Observers Sinai (MFO) and the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) where more than 500 Fijian soldiers are serving. Last month the UN Security Council decided to increase the number of peacekeepers serving in war-torn Congo by another 3100 personnel.
While Fiji is yet to be represented at the world's largest peacekeeping operations since it started in 1999, it is now up to the UN peacekeeping operations to recruit volunteers from among the armed forces of member states.
The call for Fiji's quick return to parliamentary democracy by the UN is not new.
In 2006, the then Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned of a ban on Fiji's participation in any future peacekeeping duties if the military is involved in a coup.
Mr Annan said he would make it clear to Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama that a military seizure of an elected government would not be accepted.
A direct consequence, he said, would be that the UN would ask Fiji to withdraw from all UN peacekeeping operations.
Government and RFMF spokesman Major Neumi Leweni said they cannot respond to every rumour.
"If that is the case then we should have received a correspondence from the UN on the matter," Mr Leweni said.