New Zealand rotates troops in Solomon Islands mission

Source:Xinhua Published: 2012-7-13 13:47:49

Thirty-four New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) troops are to leave for the Solomon Islands next week on a four-month deployment with a regional peacekeeping mission.

The infantry troops, leaving on Monday, would be the 16th NZDF rotation of personnel serving with the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI), said a statement from the NZDF.

The contingent would work alongside the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF), the Participating Police Force and the Australian, Tongan and Papua New Guinean military personnel to maintain security and stability.

This would allow the people and government of the Solomon Islands to lay the foundations for long term stability, security and prosperity, said the statement.

New Zealand is gradually withdrawing its peacekeeping troops from the Pacific island nation, which saw a new government elected in November last year.

New Zealand, which holds the chair of the Pacific Islands Forum this year, agreed to commit troops to the RAMSI, when the forum governments established the mission to restore order after a period of civil unrest and violence in 2003.

New Zealand originally contributed 50 troops to the mission, which includes personnel from Australia, Papua New Guinea and Tonga.

Posted in: Asia-Pacific

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