Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Solomon Islands NZDF deployment extended

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced a continuation to the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and Police deployments to Solomon Islands to help maintain peace and stability following the civil unrest in Honiara in late 2021.

“Ensuring the regional security of our pacific region has long been the priority of this government, and we will continue to play our part in maintaining a safe and secure Pacific region,” Minister Mahuta said.   

“As part of our ongoing security partnership with Solomon Islands, we have agreed to extend the deployment of up to five NZDF personnel, to be reviewed by 31 May. Four New Zealand Police officers will continue to support their Solomon Islands colleagues under our police cooperation programme,” she said.

Minister of Defence, Peeni Henare said the five New Zealand Defence Force personnel will continue to operate as part of the Solomon Islands International Assistance Force (SIAF) and will support Solomon Islands’ efforts in community engagement and reassurance.

“The Four New Zealand Police personnel will continue to work alongside the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force as part of our long-standing programme of advisory support to community policing and crime prevention,” he said.

“My talks last week with Fijian Prime Minister Bainimarama and Minister of Defence Seruiratu underlined the importance of our Pacific whānau cooperating to address security needs in our region. The SIAF is a great example of that ongoing cooperation.”

The initial December 2021 deployment followed a request for support from Solomon Islands Government after riots and looting in the capital Honiara in November 2021. They joined personnel from Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea to support the Royal Solomon Island Police Force in restoring security in Honiara.

“New Zealand, alongside our Pacific whānau, remains committed to supporting stability in Solomon Islands and promoting a peaceful and secure Pacific region,” Ms Mahuta said. 

“Solomon Islands’ proposed agreement with China, while within Solomon Islands’ sovereign rights, risks destabilising the current institutions and arrangements that have long ensured the Pacific region’s security. Given this would not benefit New Zealand or our Pacific neighbours we will continue to raise our strong condemnation of such agreement directly with the countries involved.”

The New Zealand High Commission in Honiara continues to provide SafeTravel advice to New Zealanders in Solomon Islands. New Zealanders in Solomon Islands should follow the instructions and advice of local authorities and exercise care.

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