WHILE tension in the war-torn Golan Heights continues to build, Fiji is ready to send the next battalion of soldiers to the country to maintain peace.
Confirming this in an interview yesterday, Republic of Fiji Military Forces Land Force Commander Lieutenant Colonel Jone Kalouniwai said the soldiers had started training to leave the country next month.
"We have to send over 432 soldiers. They went through the first week of training last week which was basically fixing up the administrative issues," Lt-Col Kalouniwai said in an interview.
"Today (yesterday), we have the first lot of 240 plus that have gone down to Blackrock in Nadi to start with their training."
He said the batch of soldiers would replace the 501 serving in the Golan Heights under the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force.
"It's a replacement program, we have one battalion there and we are sending another battalion.
"The battalion goes in, they do the rotation, the guys who are currently in the Golan Heights will return to Fiji."
Lt-Col Kalouniwai said the soldiers were looking forward to taking on their responsibilities.
"It's just that we are currently preparing for the next rotations and the soldiers this side are looking forward to taking the responsibilities of the Fijian battalion at the Golan Heights.
"And those at the Golan Heights are looking forward to coming back home to meet their families."