The Government reacted cautiously tonight to reports that the United Nations had decided to stop using Fijian soldiers for peacekeeping missions.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully has been calling for the UN to stop using Fijian troops while the country was under the rule of a military regime, and said in November last year it seemed hypocritical.

Today comments by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd were reported in New Zealand to mean that the UN was going to stop using Fijian peacekeepers, who contribute millions to its economy through repatriated US dollars.

"Through our interventions with the United Nations and supported by New Zealand and other countries, the United Nations is not going to engage future or new Fijian troops for new operations," Mr Rudd said. There was no official reaction to that in New Zealand, but Beehive sources told NZPA Mr Rudd appeared to have been referring to a decision previously taken by the UN that it would not use Fijian troops for new peacekeeping missions.

The UN has not recruited Fijian troops for any new peacekeeping missions since the coup in 2006.

The sources said the UN was continuing to use more than 280 Fijian troops for peacekeeping duties and was going to roll over their deployment.

The Government's position is that it should stop using them altogether, and send them home, but the UN has given no indication it intended making that move.

- NZPA