Saturday, April 20, 2024

Solomon Islands security support extended

Defence Minister, Andrew Little and Foreign Affairs Minister, Nanaia Mahuta have today announced the extension of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) deployment to Solomon Islands, as part of the regionally-led Solomon Islands International Assistance Force (SIAF).

“Aotearoa New Zealand has a long history of working alongside the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force to support peace and stability,” said Minister Little. 

“We are proud to be part of this Australian-coordinated, regional effort where police and defence organisations from within the Pacific work together to support the region’s own security needs.

“As part of our ongoing security relationship with Solomon Islands, we have extended the deployment of up to 15 NZDF personnel by seven months, to be reviewed again by 31 December 2023,” he said.

The Ministers said Aotearoa New Zealand and Solomon Islands share a deep and long-standing partnership across a range of areas including security, development, trade, and people-to-people connections.

“Our partnership promotes peace and stability through our security cooperation, as well as through our work to address the development needs and challenges we face as a region, including climate change and economic vulnerability,” said Ms Mahuta.

“Aotearoa New Zealand has remained committed to the Pacific-led SIAF since 2021, when it was established at the request of the Solomon Islands Government. SIAF is a great example of the success of our Pacific whānau working together to meet our region’s security needs.”

NZDF personnel were deployed to Honiara alongside Australian, Fijian, and Papua New Guinean counterparts in November 2021, to support the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) in restoring peace and stability following a period of civil unrest. SIAF has continued to support the RSIPF to maintain peace and stability including through community engagement and reassurance.

New Zealand Army personnel deployed to Solomon Islands have been assisting to build the capacity of the RSIPF through planning and coordination of community patrols and security for key locations.

New Zealand Police officers also remain in Solomon Islands to provide capacity building support to their RSIPF colleagues as part of Aotearoa New Zealand and Solomon Islands’ policing partnership.

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