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Further deployment to Solomon Islands

21 April 2006

Further deployment to Solomon Islands

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that up to 53 more New Zealand defence force personnel would be sent to the Solomon Islands on Sunday.

“On Wednesday, the Caretaker Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands and the Prime Minister-designate requested more military and police resources from the Regional Assistance Mission, to assist in the restoration of law and order and to provide assurance and confidence to the public.

“The Regional Assistance Mission has now advised that more troops are required to meet that request.

“This afternoon, the New Zealand Government decided to respond by sending up to another 53 army personnel, in addition to the thirty extra police officers and 25 army personnel sent yesterday.

“With those already deployed to the Solomons prior to this week’s unrest, this will bring the total number of New Zealand personnel there to 192: 125 defence personnel and 67 police.

"The extra troops are required to help give broader coverage of Honiara, better protection of infrastructure, and greater capacity to investigate and apprehend key offenders.

"New Zealand is committed to helping provide a more secure environment in the Solomon Islands and to support the constitutional process there.

“The troops are expected to depart on Sunday, 23 April,” Helen Clark said.

A deployment of 30 police officers and 25 army personnel was sent to the Solomon Islands on Thursday to reinforce New Zealand's existing contribution to the Regional Assistance Mission.

Civil unrest broke out in the Solomon Islands on Tuesday, 18 April, following the election of Snyder Rini as Prime Minister.

ENDS


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