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Goff welcomes latest Solomons deployment

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence


1 February 2006
Media statement

Goff welcomes latest Solomons deployment


Defence Minister Phil Goff says the latest deployment of New Zealand troops to the Solomon Islands is essential to that country's on-going stability and security.

A 46-strong platoon from the 2/1 Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, based at Burnham Military Camp, leaves Christchurch today as part of New Zealand's on-going contribution to the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

They will be based in Honiara for three months.

"This is New Zealand's second platoon rotation, which we are sharing with Australia, Fiji, Tonga and Papua New Guinea. Our first rotation served from November 2004 to February 2005.

"An extra duty for the platoon on this rotation will be to provide perimeter security at Rove prison, which now houses many high-profile ex-militants.

"Taking on this important task will help free up personnel from other Pacific Island countries to undertake community work outside Honiara, for which they are particularly valuable.

"The Regional Assistance Mission has made a real difference to the stability and security in the Solomons. However the situation there remains volatile and minor incidents can still escalate rapidly if not dealt with carefully.

"New Zealand Defence Force and Police personnel have a proven ability to get on well with locals and to interact with the communities they are protecting, which has made them particularly successful at this kind of work, not just in the Solomons, but in also Afghanistan, Bougainville and East Timor in recent years.

"While there is still a long way to go, the work that we are doing in the Solomons, alongside counterparts from Australia and other Pacific nations, has pulled that country back from the brink of anarchy and created the basis for national recovery," Mr Goff said.

ENDS

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