Defence extends Solomon Islands, Sinai deployments
Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence
19 March 2008
New Zealand Defence Force extends Solomon Islands, Sinai deployments
New Zealand has extended troop deployments in the Solomon Islands and the Sinai Peninsular, Defence Minister Phil Goff said today.
“New Zealand’s deployment of up to 50 Defence Force personnel to the Regional Assistance Mission in Solomon Islands (RAMSI) has been extended until March 2009,” Mr Goff said.
“RAMSI’s military component continues to play a vital role in providing security and support in Solomon Islands.
“The New Zealand Defence Force has contributed to RAMSI since the mission’s inception in 2003, and extending the deployment is an important part of New Zealand’s ongoing commitment to assisting the people of Solomon Islands.
“Our Defence Force personnel provide ongoing support to the local police force and to the RAMSI Participating Police Force, which is drawn from throughout the Pacific. New Zealand also has 35 police officers in Solomon Islands,” Mr Goff said.
Mr Goff said New Zealand’s commitment of up to 26 NZDF personnel to the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) based in the Sinai Peninsula has been extended for a further two years until 1 April 2010.
New Zealand has participated in the MFO since its inception in 1982, and plays an important role in supporting the MFO’s task of ensuring peace on the border between Egypt and Israel, Mr Goff said.
“The value of New Zealand’s contribution was re-affirmed during a recent visit to Wellington by the Director General of the MFO Ambassador James Larocco, who praised the crucial role undertaken by NZDF personnel in the region,” Mr Goff said.
The NZDF contribution to the MFO underpins the New Zealand Government’s commitment to collective security and multilateralism; and reflects New Zealand’s long-standing commitment to the Middle East Peace Process.