18 Sep 2003

Australian defence minister to visit Solomon Islands

5:25 pm on 18 September 2003

The Australian defence minister, Robert Hill and the justice minister, Chris Ellison, will visit Solomon Islands tomorrow to assess the work of the regional assistance mission.

Australia has more than 1,400 defence personnel and 200 police and security staff in the Solomons, where they are helping to restore law and order.

The ministers will visit Australian and Pacific police, and will hold briefings with Solomons and Australian officials in the capital, Honiara.

Last month, the Australian prime minister, John Howard, paid a brief visit to Honiara and on Tuesday, the New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark, accompanied by the defence minister, Mark Burton, will also make a short visit to talk to Solomons leaders and observe New Zealand personnel serving in Honiara.