23 Jul 2004

New Zealand restates commitment to Solomon Islands

1:38 pm on 23 July 2004

The New Zealand defence minister, Mark Burton, says the government has a long-term commitment to the development of a safe and prosperous Solomon Islands.

Mr Burton, who leaves today for a visit to Honiara, says RAMSI's first twelve months on the island have been an undoubted success, but the job is not yet completed.

He underlined New Zealand's commitment to the process, saying New Zealand military personnel will continue to participate in the maintenance of a platoon for the next two years.

And he says 35 New Zealand police officers will continue to work long-term to help rebuild the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force.

Mr Burton also said that the New Zealand government would certainly consider any request from Honiara for additional military support if circumstances in the country change.