27 Apr 2012

Discussions begin to end RAMSI troop deployment

1:24 pm on 27 April 2012

Australia and New Zealand have begun discussions with Solomon Islands on withdrawing their remaining troops with the Regional Assistance Mission, RAMSI.

RAMSI, which has helped maintain law and order since 2003, is made up of police and military personnel from Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific nations.

New Zealand's Defence Minister says that while some of New Zealand's 28 police with RAMSI will stay on, the job is almost complete for the 45 defence force personnel.

Jonathan Coleman says they were looking to withdraw troops earlier.

"But there was a bit of a setback a couple of years ago in Honiara with rioting. Our guys have been there nearly a decade. They've probably been there a bit longer than they really need to be; and we agree with the Australians, I've been talking with my counterpart Stephen Smith following his discussions with the Solomons Prime Minister, that it's time to look at winding down our presence. There'll be an ongoing role there for police."

Jonathan Coleman