16 Aug 2017

Australia and Solomon Islands sign new security treaty

8:24 pm on 16 August 2017

A new security agreement between Solomon Islands and Australia allows for the rapid deployment of Australian security forces in case of civil and ethnic unrest.

The huge turn-out for the event demonstrated the popularity of Op Helpem Fren.

02 AUG 2003. Approximately 15,000 people attended the Operation Helpem Fren Open Day held in Honiara. This was the first opportunity for members on the operation to meet the Solomon Islanders enmasse. Photo: Gary Ramage/Commonwealth of Australia

The deal was signed this week by the prime ministers of both nations and comes after the withdrawal of the Regional Assistance Mission (RAMSI) from the Solomons in June.

The Guardian reported the Solomons' leader, Manasseh Sogavare, saying the treaty was signed in case violence erupts again as it did in the early 2000s - a development that prompted the RAMSI deployment.

He said his government was determined the treaty would "collect dust," and not be needed, vowing they would not allow the country "to go down that way" again.

Australia's Malcolm Turnbull told parliament the treaty allowed defence and civilian personnel to provide security or humanitarian assistance if sought by the Solomons' government.