Australian Navy Ship Deploys to Solomon Islands
The Hon. John Moore, MP
Minister for Defence
Monday, 18 September 2000 MIN260/00
Navy Ship Deploys to Solomon Islands
The Minister for Defence, John Moore, announced today that an Australian naval ship has deployed for the Solomon Islands.
"HMAS NEWCASTLE deployed from Sydney this morning and will provide a stabilising presence and help further promote the peace process in the Solomons," Mr Moore said.
"The deployment is expected to continue until the next round of peace talks is conducted between the Solomon Islands' government, the Malatian Eagle Force and the Isatabu Freedom Movement."
The NEWCASTLE is a FFG frigate which will be prepared to provide a neutral and secure venue for peace talks.
The Minister said Australia has provided strong support to the Solomon Islands peace process in the past, particularly through the ADF's maritime presence in Honiara during June and July with the HMAS MANOORA and HMAS TOBRUK. As with the current deployment of HMAS NEWCASTLE, these ships provided a neutral venue for negotiations.
"We will continue to monitor the situation as it develops," Mr Moore said. "The Australian Government wishes to encourage the Solomon Islands parties to resolve their substantive issues in a peaceful, cooperative manner, and in accordance with the Solomon Islands Constitution.
"Australia has a long history of close and cooperative involvement in the South Pacific. We support defence and strategic relationships with South Pacific states through comprehensive dialogue on defence and security issues, and a long-term Defence Cooperation Program.