Fiji Time: 11:32 PM on Wednesday 24 January

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RFMF denies claim

Aqela Susu
Friday, December 15, 2017

REPUBLIC of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) chief of staff Colonel Jone Kalouniwai has denied a claim on social media that Fijian soldiers serving in Iraq were denied entry into a United States army base after Fiji's decision to disavow Israeli's ties to Jerusalem.

Fiji was among the 151 countries that voted against recognising Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel during the UN General Assembly earlier this month.

Col. Kalouniwai said these claims (about the denial of entry into US bases) were not true.

"No I don't think that's true. We haven't received anything," he said.

Col. Kalouniwai told this newspaper on Tuesday that Fijian soldiers serving in the Middle East would not be affected by Fiji's decision to not side with Israel.

But, he said, only Fijian soldiers who went on leave to Jerusalem would face some security concerns, which would be dealt with by the organisation they were working with while on deployment.

Some Pacific Island countries that voted to recognise Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel included Nauru and the Marshall Islands.

They were among the six countries that recognised this move, including the US.

Fiji's neighbouring countries, Papua New Guinea and Australia, were among the nine countries which abstained from voting on the issue.

The vote came in the wake of a decision by US President Donald Trump to move his country's embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, a move that recognised the city's stature as Israel's capital.

It led to criticism from Israel's neighbours in the Middle East.

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