30 Nov 2012

Militancy clearly at an end in Solomon Islands: RAMSI

6:06 am on 30 November 2012

The head of the multinational peacekeeping force in Solomon Islands says the militant activity that prompted its deployment is clearly at an end.

The Australian-led regional assistance mission or RAMSI went into the country in 2003, following several years of civil unrest on Guadalcanal.

New Zealand's 16th platoon to Solomon Islands, expected to be the last subject to final approval by the governments of both New Zealand and Australia, departs this morning.

RAMSI's Special Coordinator Nicholas Coppel says although the mission will continue with its focus on strengthening the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, it is the right time for the withdrawal of soldiers.

He says Solomon Islanders share that sense of security about their future.

"I think that's true. I mean there's a distinction between militancy and law and order issues and militancy has clearly come to an end. So the presence of the strong force, the military force, isn't needed to combat the militancy that we saw before. There are still issues in relation to law and order and that's one of the reasons why RAMSI's participating police force is going to remain in Solomon Islands for a number of years to come."

Nicholas Coppel says whether to rearm the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force is a decision for the Solomon Islands government.