Fiji Time: 4:44 PM on Tuesday 23 December

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Aust offers intel

Nasik Swami
Thursday, September 04, 2014

AUSTRALIA is willing to provide intelligence resources to assist in the release of 45 Fijian soldiers held in captivity by al-Qaida-affiliated militant group al-Nusra in the Golan Heights.

The assurance came from Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop as UN negotiations continue for their release.

Ms Bishop condemned the detention of the peacekeepers and called for their immediate release.

"As a member of the UN Security Council, Australia demands the unconditional and immediate release of all the detained United Nations peacekeepers," Ms Bishop said.

She said Fijian personnel have played an important role in UN peacekeeping operations over many years.

"I have telephoned Prime Minister Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama and Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola to offer Australia's strong support, including our intelligence resources, for Fiji at this difficult time and assured them that Australia will use its position on the UN Security Council to maintain focus on this issue."

The rebel group has demanded its name be struck off the UN terrorist list and that the UN provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Ruta, a town on the outskirts of Damascus and an al-Nusra-dominated area.