30 Nov 2006

Australian troops leave Tonga

3:05 pm on 30 November 2006

The Australian government says 50 Australian soldiers sent to Tonga following the riots two weeks ago will return home today.

The New Zealand Defence Minister Phil Goff has confirmed that the New Zealand troops will withdraw from Tonga at the weekend.

The ANZAC force was sent after rioting destroyed most of the central business district of the capital Nuku'Alofa on November 16th.

Mr Goff says the soldiers' job is now complete and Tongan authorities are confident that should any unexpected disturbance arise, they will be able to handle the situation.

He says the way is now open for reconciliation and progress to be made on getting democratic reform in Tonga.