The Hon. Dr Brendan Nelson,
Minister for Defence

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24 May 2006
88/06
  Date

AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE PRESENCE IN SOLOMON ISLANDS

 

Following a review of the security situation and in consultation with the Solomon Islands Government and our regional military partners, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will commence a draw down of its enhanced presence in the Solomon Islands.

The ADF exhibited its regional response capabilities last month when it deployed a rapid response group to the Solomon Islands following civil unrest.

The enhanced military presence, which at its height consisted of about 400 ADF personnel, reinforced the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) in restoring law and order to the country.

In the period since this latest deployment, RAMSI has made excellent progress in instilling calm to the troubled areas.

At the height of the deployment there were almost 400 ADF personnel and assets deployed on Operation ANODE, including two infantry companies, two Iroquois helicopters, two patrol boats, logistics and HQ staff.

The revised ADF presence will be one infantry Company from the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment and associated support elements, giving a total ADF presence of around 140 personnel, working alongside elements of the New Zealand Defence Force and Pacific Islands countries military forces.

This force composition is the most appropriate to deal with the current situation. It is also of a credible size to meet unexpected changes to the security situation in the future.

Recent events underline the serious nature of the problems and the need for a long-term commitment on the part of the region.

The withdrawing ADF forces will begin their return to Australia in the next week.

 

Editors note: Details of the return to Australia of the deployed troops will be announced in the near future.

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