UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- The United Nations announced Wednesday Fiji will provide security details in Iraq for senior U.N. officials and to guard U.N. facilities.
A spokeswoman for U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Marie Okabe, also told reporters at U.N. World Headquarters in New York that Australia has promised to provide most of the equipment the Fijians will need.
"The United Nations is grateful to these two governments as these contributions are critical to the U.N.'s efforts to strengthen the security arrangements of its personnel in Iraq," Okabe said. "This would make it possible for the United Nations to consider expanding its activities in Iraq, as circumstances permit"
The world organization has been hamstrung by the lack of a dedicated protection unit for its people and property, forcing U.N. security officials to maintain a limit of 35 people from the world organization allowed in Iraq.
The Fiji force will number about 130 personnel, the spokeswoman said.
A dedicated protection force was mandated by the U.N. Security Council to distance the world organization from the U.S.-led multi-national force striving to for security in Iraq.