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Action on small arms in Pacific imperative

Action on small arms in Pacific imperative

In 2001 Tonga, a country with deep set social and political problems, was set to buy $10 million dollars worth of small arms from the United States. New Zealand helped to stop the sale said former Minister of Disarmament, Matt Robson MP.

"A research report released today 'Small Arms in the Pacific' reminds us that we need to work harder to ensure security in our region.

"New Zealand is working to put in governance structures that foster the rule of law not the rule of the gun, in the Solomon Islands, Fiji and other Pacific countries.

"Philip Alpers and Conor Twyford have done groundbreaking work with their comprehensive report that indicates how much work we have to do in our own neighbourhood to ensure peace and stability for the people. Reaching for the gun is becoming a solution for too many of our neighbours.

The report's emphasis on linking development and disarmament is the answer to instability and terrorism. Coups and violence in the Pacific could well be limited by careful arms control, structures that strengthen the rule of law and focused development programmes.

"It is essential that New Zealand contribute to security in the Pacific both by providing assistance in arms control programs and by working with countries to improve their economic development so that tensions caused by poverty and political struggles do not evolve into armed aggression, said Matt Robson MP.

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