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Fiji Time: 10:13 PM on Monday 22 September

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Ban assures Fiji

Geraldine Panapasa
Tuesday, September 02, 2014

THE Fijian Government is working closely with the United Nations on negotiations for the release of 45 captured Fijian peacekeepers in the Golan Heights by Syrian rebel group Al-Nusra.

Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had assured the UN was bringing all of its available resources to the negotiating table.

He said Mr Ban also praised the work of Fijian soldiers in Golan Heights and on other UN peacekeeping missions around the world.

"We have opened channels of communication with the Al-Nusra Front — the armed group responsible for their capture and negotiations are proceeding," the Prime Minister said.

He said the rebel group released a photograph of our men who appeared to be in good health.

"The RFMF has set up a crisis centre in Vatuwaqa that is providing support to the families of soldiers deployed overseas and especially those in Syria.

"The government fully supports this outreach and stands ready to assist in any way we can," he said.

He said they had received messages from Fijians of all faiths expressing their deep concern.

"Even in the midst of an election campaign, we are united as a nation in praying for their safe return. The thoughts of the entire nation are with these soldiers and their families.

"And I want to assure their loved ones that we are doing everything possible — working with the United Nations — to secure their release."

He said they would continue to provide regular updates of the situation once new information was received.


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