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Army Chief Ready For Solomons Peacekeeping

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THE CHIEF of the Australian Army, Lieutenant-General Peter Cosgrove, says his troops are ready to take on peacekeeping duties in the Solomon Islands, ABC Online News reports.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has said Australia will contribute to an international team to monitor the peace agreement between warring militias on the Solomons.

Lieutenant-General Cosgrove says the international team will be similar to the Bougainville peace monitoring group.

"We'd be ready...I mean I'm speculating here but [I] imagine the numbers here wouldn't be much different to what we had in Bougainville, maybe a little smaller even," he said.

"But in any event, it's such an important issue that if it is the Government's wish then naturally the Defence Force will be ready to leap into action."

The agreement to end a war which has killed up to 100 people was negotiated in Townsville during the past six days.

The Solomons has been racked by intermittent fighting between rival militia from Guadalcanal and Malaita islands for nearly two years.

+++niuswire


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