4 Sep 2003

NZ travel advisory for Solomons unchanged despite intervention force

3:54 pm on 4 September 2003

The New Zealand government has issued a new travel advisory for Solomon Islands, saying many weapons are still at large and the potential for tension and civil unrest remains.

Despite the deployment of an Australian-led armed force, the advisory is unchanged, saying travel to rural areas of Guadalcanal and Malaita should only be undertaken if it is essential.

The advisory says the efforts of the intervention force have seen an immediate reduction in the lawlessness in some areas while visits to the main tourist destinations are usually trouble-free.

It says visitors and foreigners are not believed to be special targets but they should avoid large political gatherings and demonstrations.

Meanwhile, more foreign police officers have arrived in Honiara to join the Australian-led force.

Five police officers from Kiribati and ten from Tonga have flown in, along with an additional 17 Australian officers.

Police officers from Fiji and Tuvalu are also expected and may be joined by a contingent from Vanuatu.