NZAF Solomon Evacuations Continue
The New Zealand Air force is helping evacuate over 150 foreign nationals from Honiara this afternoon with several New Zealanders on board flights out of the troubled islands.
Speaking at the Post Cabinet press conference Foreign Minister Phil Goff said a single C130 Airforce plane was predicted to leave the Solomon Islands around 4:30pm this afternoon, carrying approximately 70 foriegn foreign nationals.
Another Air force 727 plane carrying approximately the same number was also due to leave soon he said.
Mr. Goff said the foreigners taken out of the capital included nationals from a variety of differing countries but were predominantly Australians British, and Americans. The planes would fly from Honiara to the Australian city of Townsville where the Australian Government would grant them emergency visas, he said.
The latest round of evacuations follow two other flights over the weekend that delivered New Zealand, Australian, American, Fijian and other evacuees to Brisbane and Whenuapai Air Base, in West Auckland.
After today's evacuations there is estimated to be approximately forty New Zealanders left in the islands including High Commission staff.
Mr. Goff himself took an air-force Hercules back to Whenuapai after taking part in a Commonwealth Ministerial team which met with the Malaitian rebels to try and broker a cease fire between the two warring sides.
Mr. Goff said the HMNZS frigate Te Mana would remain anchored outside the Honiara capital until stability was reached in the region.
Speaking about the continuing political situation in the Solomons Mr Goff said he believed the Prime Minister Bartholomew Ulufa’alu, currently under house arrest, would voluntarily resign on Thursday.
The islands’ parliament will also sit on Thursday to discuss a motion of no confidence in Mr. Ulufa’alu.