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HMAS TOBRUK Departs for Solomon Islands



Minister for Defence

Thursday, 22 June 2000 MIN142/00

HMAS TOBRUK Departs for Solomon Islands

The Minister for Defence, John Moore, announced today that HMAS TOBRUK had departed Townsville to return to the Solomon Islands.

"TOBRUK left Townsville last night. Its mission is to continue to support the peace process in the Solomon Islands, that is, to provide a secure, neutral venue for the key stake holders to conduct negotiations," Mr Moore said.

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) presence in Honiara has played a valuable role in the Australian Government's efforts to assist the peace process in Solomon Islands.

"To date, several important meetings between the key stakeholders have taken place aboard RAN landing craft which were left behind by TOBRUK during her first mission to Honiara.

"While not playing a direct role in hosting the peace talks, HMAS MANOORA has also provided a valuable stabilising presence in Honiara," said Mr Moore.

HMAS TOBRUK is travelling with a normal crew complement of 140 personnel and is due in Honiara Harbour before first light on Sunday 25 June.

HMAS MANOORA departed Honiara for Australia yesterday and is expected to arrive in Townsville by the end of this week. The landing craft and crews that were attached to MANOORA have remained in Honiara.

The Minister said that the primary mission for TOBRUK would be to facilitate the peace process rather than evacuating nationals.

"The demand for evacuation has largely been met and commercial flights have recommenced from Honiara. To date, 1065 Australian and other nationals have been repatriated, 483 on HMAS TOBRUK, 155 on RAAF flights, and 427 on RNZAF flights."

The Minister said that the efforts of the Australian Defence Force in evacuating Australian and other nationals, and the ADF's assistance to the peace process again demonstrated the professionalism and effectiveness of the ADF.


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