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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

NZ and Aussie Defence Ministers discuss Solomons today

New Zealand's Defence Minister Phil Goff and Australian counterpart, Dr Brendan Nelson are holding their annual defence bilateral discussions in Sydney today.

"The situations in Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands will be the lead items in our discussions but we will also look at wider issues of stability within the South Pacific," Goff says.

"The RAMSI mission in the Solomon Islands has been effective in drawing the country back from becoming a failed state. The regional approach taken to working to address the problems in the Solomon's involving all 16 member states of the Pacific Island Forum has proved successful and developments there represent a marked improvement in peace and stability," Goff says.

"RAMSI intervened in the Solomon Islands at the request of the Solomon Islands Government and its Parliament. The mission enjoys the overwhelming support of the people of the Solomon Islands.

"Some questions have arisen recently about the ongoing consent environment to allow RAMSI to work in the Solomon Islands and the Facilitation of International Assistance Act which empowers our police and defence force personnel and provides them with immunity for actions taken in carrying out their duties. Continuation of the Act is a matter for decision by the Solomon Islands Government.

Source: Pacific Magazine

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