Saturday, July 20, 2024

NZ to deploy troops, Police to Honiara

The Government has announced it will deploy Defence Force and Police personnel to Honiara to help restore peace and stability.

“New Zealand is committed to its responsibilities and playing its part in upholding regional security,” Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern said. 

“We are deeply concerned by the recent civil unrest and rioting in Honiara, and following yesterday’s request of the Solomon Islands Government, we have moved quickly to provide urgent assistance to help restore sustained peace and security.

“Every deployment brings its risks and challenges, but our people have vast experience in the Pacific region and are amongst some of the most highly skilled when it comes to deescalating conflict,” she said.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Nanaia Mahuta said New Zealand had a deep and long-standing partnership with the Solomon Islands.

“We assured them of our willingness to support our Pacific whānau through this difficult time,” she said.

“New Zealand will send a deployment of New Zealand Defence Force and New Zealand Police to Solomon Islands in the coming days. This is a short-term, immediate response and we will continue to monitor the situation.

“Under our kotahitanga principle the New Zealand contingent will work to support the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, and also alongside counterparts from Australia, Papua New Guinea and Fiji.”

Defence Minister, Peeni Henare said an initial NZDF assessment team of approximately 15 personnel would deploy tomorrow, followed by a larger group of up to 50 NZDF and Police at the weekend.

“NZDF personnel will support the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) in maintaining stability, engaging with communities and providing public reassurance,” Minister Henare said.

Police Minister, Poto Williams said Police would work with the NZDF to add to the contribution already made by Australia, Papua New Guinea and Fiji to aid in restoring law and order.

“New Zealand Police has a long-standing partnership with Solomon Islands, and has had a presence in Honiara for a number of years. Over the past week they have been providing advice and support to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force on the ground, and these extra personnel will provide community liaison and engagement support,” the Police Minister said.

All New Zealand personnel deploying to Solomon Islands are required to be double vaccinated, have had a negative COVID-19 test before departure and adhere to Solomon Islands COVID-19 testing protocols. They will complete managed isolation on their return, the Prime Minister confirmed.

The New Zealand High Commission in Honiara is providing SafeTravel advice to New Zealanders in Solomon Islands, including that they should follow the instructions and advice of local authorities and exercise care.

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