19 February 2010
Spokesperson's Noon Briefing
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
Daily Press Briefing by the Offices of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General and the Spokesperson for the General Assembly President
The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Farhan Haq, Associate Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, and Jean Victor Nkolo, Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly.
...Question: One question, probably you may have seen this, it’s been reported that the UN turned down a peacekeeper from Fiji to go and serve with a battalion in Iraq. His name is Pita Driti, and it’s said that he was turned down, but it doesn’t really explain why. Can you confirm that? And can you state why, if he was turned down, why he was turned down?
Associate Spokesperson: Yes, I can do actually both things for you. First of all, I’d like to point out that Fiji has been and continues to be an active participant in UN peacekeeping and other operations. However, since the December 2006 coup, there has been no increase in the number of Fijian troops participating in existing operations or any participation of Fijian troops in new UN operations established since that time. This position is consistent with the stance of the Security Council on Fiji, which has called for the prompt return to democratically elected Government there.
In November 2009, the UN was informed by the Mission of Fiji to the UN of the Republic of Fiji’s intention to appoint Colonel Pita Driti as the next Commander of Fiji’s contingent to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI). In light of allegations of serious human rights violations against Colonel Driti, the UN advised the Fijian authorities through the appropriate channels that the Organization would not accept any personnel alleged to have committed human rights abuses or other illegal activities, and that Colonel Driti therefore would not be accepted as the head of the UNAMI Fijian contingent. And that decision was taken in accordance with standing UN rules and regulations that apply to all troop-contributing countries."...
Now that must be a new protocol because it certainly didn't apply to Bainimarama's arch nemesis Lt. Colonel Filipo Tarakinikini -- from who's personal experience we should have realized just how badly Bainimarama had been nurturing his thirst for ultimate power.