There are times when the PM must make unilateral decisions and stand by them – Rabuka

There are times when the PM must make unilateral decisions and stand by them – Rabuka

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 01/11/2023
Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka [Photo: File]

Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka says there are times when the Prime Minister must make unilateral decisions and stand by them.

While being questioned on the recent UN vote relating to Israel and Hamas, Rabuka says these decisions are made within the party framework, and members of Parliament are free to express reservations if they disagree with the Prime Minister's stance.

He says they value unity under the current leadership, including the three deputy prime ministers.

Rabuka says any reservations expressed by coalition partners are considered, and discussions are held within the party.

Regarding allegations that religious beliefs influence decision-making, %Rabuka says it's important to note that the safety of Fijian peacekeepers has always been a concern.

He says Fijian troops have operated in challenging and often dangerous environments, even before recent developments.

He adds Fiji's stance on international matters is rooted in the fundamental principles of the United Nations.

Rabuka says when we participate in global debates or consider resolutions, we prioritize the sovereignty of UN member states, as outlined in the UN conventions.

He says our approach hinges on whether the issues at hand affect the sovereignty of the states recognized as part of the UN.

Rabuka says for instance, in the recent resolution and amendment votes on Israel and Hamas, Fiji supported the amendment put forth by Canada, acknowledging the origins of the issue without assigning blame.

He says the original resolution lacked this acknowledgment, which is why Fiji couldn't vote for it.

Rabuka says regarding specific resolutions, such as Resolution 425 and 426 establishing United Nations interim forces in Lebanon, their focus was on the sovereign states involved, namely Israel and Lebanon, and their internationally recognized border.

He says the involvement of the PLO wasn't the primary consideration; rather, it was about maintaining the internationally recognized boundaries and promoting peace in the region.

Rabuka adds the decision to volunteer Fijian troops for peacekeeping missions was made under the instruction of former Prime Minister Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, and it was based on the understanding that threats would persist until peace is fully restored in the region.

He says our commitment to peacekeeping remains unwavering, and we are resolute in our efforts to contribute to global stability.

Rabuka and Home Affairs Minister, Pio Tikoduadua have not made any comments regarding the Army Commander’s call for a re-evaluation of Fiji’s vote against the ceasefire, and to consult with the Republic of Military Forces.

RFMF concerned with non-consultative approach taken by the Govt in its decision to disapprove the UN resolution on Gaza - Major General Kalouniwai

We call on Govt to reevaluate its decision - Commander
By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 31/10/2023
Commander of the Republic of Military Forces, Major General Ro Jone Kalouniwai

The Commander of the Republic of Military Forces, Major General Ro Jone Kalouniwai says the RFMF expresses its deep concerns with the non-consultative approach taken by the Government of Fiji in its recent decision to disapprove the United Nations resolution on Gaza.

In a statement, Major General Kalouniwai says it is disheartening to see a decision taken without due consideration for the potential impact on the safety and well-being of our brave men and women in uniform.

He says this decision has significant implications for the safety and security of the RFMF troops currently deployed in the Middle East.

The Commander says the RFMF acknowledges the government's prerogative to make decisions regarding international affairs; however, they firmly believe that consultation with relevant stakeholders, including the RFMF, is essential when determining positions on critical matters such as the UN resolution on Gaza.

Major General Kalouniwai says the decision to disapprove the resolution without prior consultation has raised concerns about the potential risk and danger faced by our troops in the region.

He says the RFMF has a proud history of contributing to international peacekeeping efforts, including deployments to the Middle East.

The Commander says our troops have consistently displayed professionalism, dedication, and a commitment to upholding the values of peace and security.

Major General Kalouniwai says the RFMF urges the government to recognize the importance of inclusive decision-making processes, particularly when matters have significant implications for our military personnel.

He says consultation with the RFMF and other relevant stakeholders is crucial to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the potential risks and to develop a well-informed position that aligns with our commitment to peacekeeping efforts and the protection of our troops.

He further calls upon the Government of Fiji to reevaluate its decision regarding the UN resolution on Gaza and consider the potential consequences for our troops deployed in the Middle East.

Major General Kalouniwai says their safety and security should remain a top priority, and it is crucial that their contributions to international peacekeeping efforts are fully supported and respected.

The RFMF Commander remains committed to working constructively with the government to address this issue and to ensure that the interests and well-being of our troops are safeguarded.

He says they believe in the power of open dialogue, collaboration, and informed decision-making to achieve the best outcomes for Fiji and its military forces.

We have sought a response from Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka and Minister for Home Affairs, Pio Tikoduadua.

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