Fiji never negotiated with terrorists: Ratu Inoke
August 26, 2015 7:19 pm
Opposition Whip Ratu Isoa Tikoca was asked to withdraw a statement he made in Parliament yesterday, in which he stated the government had negotiated with terrorists for the release of the 45 peace keepers in Golan Heights, Syria last year.
In a speech in response to Defence Minister Timoci Natuva’s Ministerial statement on Fiji’s peacekeeping Operations, Ratu Isoa says working in conflict zones come with it’s own risks, with 51 Fijian peace keepers so far killed on duty.
He noted the hostage crisis in which 45 of our peace keepers were captured by an Al-Qaeda affiliated rebel group in the Golan Heights, adding they were only released after the Fijian government negotiated with rebels.
Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola then raised a point of order that Ratu Isoa’s statement was a lie, saying the Fijian government did not negotiate with the terrorists.
Speaker Dr Jiko Luveni then asked Ratu Isoa to withdraw his statement, to which he did.
However, after the break, Ratu Isoa raised another point of order stating he has documentary evidence of government’s negotiations with terrorists.
This prompted another response from the Foreign Affairs Minister.
“The Fiji government never, never at any time negotiated with terrorists or with the rebel group Al-Nusra. Never. We sought the assistance of the Government of Qatar through the Foreign Minister Dr Khalid. And he was able to assist us in the release of the 45 soldiers. I wish Madam Speaker that this issue is laid to rest.”
Dr Luveni then stated that the documents can be submitted in a separate motion, which Ratu Isoa can file later.
The 45 UN peacekeepers captured by the Al-Nusra front were released two weeks after they were taken hostage.
They returned to Fiji two weeks ago.