Suva, [Fiji] December 1 (ANI): A contingent of Fiji's military is providing support to assist in the restoration of peace and stability in the Solomon Islands.
This was done to heed the call of Fiji's Prime Minister who held a discussion with his Solomon Islands counterpart and decided to stand by their fellow Melanesian family in the Solomons, reported the Fiji Sun.
Fiji's Commander RFMF Major General Jone Kalouniwai in his farewell speech to the troops at the Queen Elizabeth Barrack's Tuvasu Hall said "We are here, heeding the call of our nation through the Prime Minister after his discussion with the Solomon Islands Prime Minister to assist our fellow Melanesian family in the Solomons.""Almost 80 years after our troops first landed in the Solomons and 15 years since our last deployment with the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to the Island, our troops will once again revisit the footsteps of their forbearers," he added.
Australia had also sent peacekeepers to the Solomon Islands with a contribution of at least 34 from Papua New Guinea, according to the publication.
Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said another 120 troops were on standby if the security situation deteriorated in Honiara, where a massive clean-up was underway after the unrest that claimed at least three lives.
"I also wish to take this moment to convey my thoughts and prayers to our brothers and sisters in the Solomon Islands for the turmoil they are currently experiencing," the Fijian leader said.Earlier, Fiji had sent troops to the Solomon Islands as a part of the Regional Assistance Mission for the Solomon Islands in 2003 and for its commitment to the Biketawa Declaration.
Further, regional security force Legion, comprising the Melanesian countries could also be tapped by Fiji if the crisis in Solomon Island escalates.
Further, the crisis in the Solomon Islands will test Fiji's relations with China as the present crisis in Honiara could be attributed to Beijing's indifference to the Melanesian country (ANI)