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When money is more important than lives…..Fiji is offering to replace the 380 troops withdrawn from the Golan Heights by Austria as all other countries now consider it too dangerous as they will be dragged into the Syrian civil war..

June 9, 2013

 

Sources inside the FMF have confirmed that the Fiji Government has recieved a request from the UN to provide “up to 300″ peacekeeping troops to the Golan Heights.

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The United Nations scrambled on Friday to find fresh troops for its beleaguered Golan Heights peacekeeping force after Austria decided to pull out its troops with the Philippines poised to follow suit after the abduction of some Filipino troops by Syrian rebels last May.

The pullout of the 377 Austrian troops would leave UNDOF with just 341 troops from the Philippines and 193 from India. Japan and Croatia have also withdrawn in recent months as battles between Syrian government and opposition forces spread into the cease-fire zone.

The Philippines has said it is considering its future in UNDOF.

Israel has reacted angrily to Austria‘s decision to withdraw its peacekeeping forces from the Golan Heights, saying the move has undermined the authority of the United Nations as the Syrian civil war threatens to spill over the border into Israel.

“Freedom of movement in the area de facto no longer exists. The uncontrolled and immediate danger to Austrian soldiers has risen to an unacceptable level,” the Austrian chancellor, Werner Faymann, and his deputy, Michael Spindelegger, said in a joint statement.

The announcement came hours after Syrian rebels seized the Syrian-controlled section of the Quneitra crossing early on Thursday.

The Israeli border area was declared a closed military zone and a large section of Road 98, a highway running along the armistice line, was shut. Farmers were evacuated from their orchards and the residents of nearby villages ordered to remain inside their homes.

A Filipino peacekeeper was also wounded during the fighting, a Philippine military spokesman said.

The soldier suffered a leg injury from an artillery or mortar shell that landed at Camp Ziouni, a logistics base for the UN Disengagement Observer Force, said Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala.

“This morning’s developments show that a further delay [in pulling out soldiers] is no longer justifiable,” the Austrian statement said.

 

 

Source – Fiji Today; Posted on SWM by Rusi Varani

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