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Peace monitoring team winds up role in Solomons

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

25 June 2002

Peace monitoring team winds up role in Solomons


Joint statement by New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Phil Goff and Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer.

New Zealand Minister for Foreign Affairs, Phil Goff and Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer have praised the work of the International Peace Monitoring Team (IPMT) to Solomon Islands which completes its 20-month deployment today.

The IPMT was deployed as a neutral international presence in support of the Townsville Peace Agreement, (signed in October 2000) and included police from Tonga, Cook Islands and Vanuatu, in addition to New Zealand and Australian personnel.

“We congratulate all those men and women who served with the IMPT for a job well done in successfully supporting home-grown efforts to end ethnic conflict in the Solomon Islands especially through the collection and custody of illegally held weapons.

“Their achievements, in support of the work of individuals and institutions in the Solomon Islands also made an important contribution to community confidence-building and the restoration of peace,” said Mr Goff and Mr Downer.

The Ministers also highlighted the IPMT’s recent work in disposing of some 2000 weapons surrendered into its custody as another important step towards building peace and stability in Solomon Islands.

“The withdrawal of the IPMT is based on a joint desire to deliver Australian and New Zealand assistance in ways which more directly address the evolving situation.

“The IMPT has played a valuable role in supporting the TPA and helping the Solomon Islands end ethnic fighting but other serious challenges remain.

“A key focus of Australia and New Zealand assistance will now be to provide increased support to strengthen Solomon Islands’ capacity to deal with the major law and order and economic challenges it faces. The IPMT does not have a mandated role in either of these areas and its departure reflects the changed circumstances on the ground in Solomon Islands.

“The end of the IPMT deployment did not in any way reflect a lessening of New Zealand and Australia’s firm commitment to support Solomon Islands’ efforts to address its own problems,” the Ministers said.

ENDS


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