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ACT Seeks Urgent Debate On Solomons Deployment

Monday 16th Oct 2000
Richard Prebble Media Release
Foreign Affairs & Defence

The ACT party believes the issue of committing unarmed New Zealand soldiers and police personnel to the Solomons should be debated in parliament, said ACT Leader, Hon Richard Prebble.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Phil Goff, put a proposal to Cabinet today that would see New Zealand send unarmed military and civilian police to the Solomon Islands as part of an international peace monitoring team to supervise disarmament.

Solomon Islands officials and rival militia groups yesterday signed a peace accord after six days of tense negotiations in Townsville, Australia. The accord aims to end decades of tension and two years of fighting over land and jobs.

“The deployment of unarmed New Zealanders to a potentially volatile environment is a topic worthy of parliamentary debate.

“ACT sympathises with the Government’s intentions but believes many important questions need to be publicly answered, such as how long will the New Zealanders be stationed in the Solomons? Who will guarantee their safety? Does the Government have an exit strategy? Will they be withdrawn if the accord proves unworkable?

“ACT believes the Speaker, Rt. Hon Jonathon Hunt, will agree that the issue does require the immediate attention of the House and Government and will grant an urgent debate tommorrow,” said Hon Richard Prebble.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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