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Fiji Time: 1:47 AM on Monday 21 April

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Farewell parade for Golan 171

Torika Tokalau
Monday, June 24, 2013

THE 171 military personnel that will leave for the Golan Heights in Syria on Wednesday will be accorded a farewell parade through Suva City tomorrow.

A Ministry of Information statement yesterday confirmed the Minister of Defence Joketani Cokanasiga will host the parade for the troops which will also be attended by other cabinet ministers and dignitaries.

A farewell parade of this kind is usually given to soldiers who are deployed to an area where Fiji as a nation will provide peacekeepers for the first time. The 171 military personnel, 140 from the infantry and an additional 31, will serve under the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).

The statement also revealed medical personnel too will also be a part of the Fiji mission.

"In addition, as mandated by the UN, the inclusion of medical personnel to be part of the Fiji troops is to supplement existing UN medical teams for the UNDOF mission."

As a tradition, the soldiers will march from Albert Park into the city where they are expected to stop in front of the Suva City Council where they will ask Suva's special administrator Chandu Umaria's permission to leave the city.

This tradition is also conducted when Fiji ends its UNDOF mission where they ask the special administrator to enter the city.

"Families and friends are welcomed to be part of the farewell program as this is one of the important occasions for the nation that marks our commitment and sacrifice to international peacekeeping," the statement said.

The parade will be held after the official farewell conducted by the President of Fiji Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, and Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama at Albert Park.