26 Jul 2003

Australian and NZ foreign ministers to visit Solomons

9:17 am on 26 July 2003

The foreign ministers of Australia and New Zealand will visit Solomon Islands where an intervention force is restoring law and order.

First elements of the Australian-led force arrived in the country on Thursday.

More than two thousand men and women will make up the full force including personnel from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea and Tonga.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff says he will travel with his Australian counterpart Alexander Downer next Thursday, following the Pacific leaders meeting in French Polynesia with French President Jacques Chirac.

He says the two-day visit to Honiara will provide an opportunity to see how the strengthened assistance to Solomon Islands is shaping up in its early stages.

Mr Goff says he and Mr Downer will meet the Prime Minister Sir Allen Kemakeza, police and military personnel, and local NGOs and civil society representatives.