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Long-term commitment needed on Solomon's

Long-term commitment needed on Solomon's

New Zealand needs to make a long-term and serious commitment if it's going to be effective in the effort to restore order to the Solomon Islands, says National Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Dr Wayne Mapp.

"We support the proposal that New Zealand send armed officers and troops to the Solomon's but we can't afford to take half measures in doing this. Tensions have reached crisis point and it will take some time for intervention to be effective.

"In particular, we should expect that our forces will be there for longer than six months. The experiences of Bougainville and East Timor show that we need to be prepared to make a long-term commitment.

"Our deployment should primarily come from our military forces including military police, rather than our already stretched police force.

"Comments by Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer that Australia will provide assistance regardless of whether the United Nations supports it, leave New Zealand in an interesting position. Helen Clark says she couldn't back the war on Iraq without a UN resolution, but it seems her Government will send troops to the Solomon's without UN backing," Dr Mapp said.

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