Caption: Major-General Naivalurua, Major General Jamil and Ambassador Thomson at Ministry of Interior, Baghdad.

Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Peter Thomson, and Ambassador-at-Large Major General Ioane Naivalurua today completed a three-day visit to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI). While in Iraq they met with officials of the Government of Iraq, with UNAMI officials, and with the Fijian Guard Unit at UNAMI.

The Fijian Guard Unit has been stationed in Iraq since 2004 and has a current strength of 195 men and women of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces. The task of the guard unit is to protect the United Nations personnel serving in Baghdad and at the Baghdad International Airport.

Yesterday the Fijian Ambassadors paid a courtesy call on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iraq, where they held talks with H.E. Mohammed Al-Duraki, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Ambassadors thanked the Deputy Minister for the hospitable manner in which the Government of Iraq has treated the Fijian Guard Unit while serving with UNAMI.

The Ambassadors also visited the Ministry of the Interior yesterday, where they held productive talks with H.E. Major General Jamil Ghani, the Ministry’s Chief of Staff. The talks centered on arrangements to improve issuance procedures for Iraqi entry and exit visas for the Fijian Guard Unit.

On Saturday, at UNAMI headquarters at Diwan Compound, the Ambassadors were briefed by the Contingent Commander, Colonel Jerry Tuikoro and the officers of the Fijian Guard Unit. They were assured that the Fijian personnel were all well and in good spirits.

Thereafter meetings were held with various departments of UNAMI. These meetings included a session with UNAMI’s leader, SRSG Nickolay Mladenov, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria. They also entailed discussions with UNAMI management on issues concerning the living and recreational conditions of the Fijian Guard Unit.

The Ambassadors spent their three nights at UNAMI in the company of the Fijian Guard Unit, giving news of home and listening to the concerns of the troops. They were accorded traditional ceremonies of welcome and farewell by the troops, and attended a church service held on Sunday afternoon.


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