Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has called for calm as the nation deploys Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Australian Federal Police (AFP) personnel to the Solomon Islands in the wake of violent protests which began on Wednesday.
“Solomon Islands is part of our Pacific family and is among our closest neighbours,” Mr Morrison said in a statement.
“We have been watching the ongoing protests in Honiara with concern. We continue to call for calm, for an end to any further violence and emphasise the importance of resolving tensions peacefully.”
Australia received a formal request for assistance from the Solomon Islands Government under the 2017 Bilateral Security Treaty. The PM said Australia agreed to provide assistance to Solomon Islands in line with the Treaty arrangement.
A Royal Australian Air Force aircraft departed Canberra last night to provide airlift for members of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in support of the Australian Government response to the request for assistance.
Approximately 40 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel from Army’s 3rd Brigade, 6th Brigade and 17th Brigade will depart Townsville for Honiara today.
A further ADF aircraft will also depart Canberra today with additional DFAT officials and AFP members.
The AFP and ADF elements will support the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force in helping to stabilise the situation, the Prime Minister said.
“The ADF will also deploy a Navy vessel to the Solomon Islands to support the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force with maritime security.”
“This deployment expands upon our longstanding bilateral security relationship, underpinned by strong cooperation between police, border and defence agencies in Australia and Solomon Islands,” he said.
The Australian High Commission in Honiara remains operational.