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Police Minister Paula Bennett will travel to Honiara tomorrow to mark the draw-down of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

“In 2003 political instability and conflict posed a significant threat to the Solomon Islands and the government requested assistance through the Pacific Islands Forum,” Mrs Bennett says.

“RAMSI was established as a collective response, with 16 Pacific Forum countries having contributed to the Mission over the past 14 years.

“Around 2000 New Zealand Defence Force and New Zealand Police personnel have served as part of RAMSI and we have made a significant contribution to the future of the Solomon Islands through our aid programme.

“RAMSI transitioned from a military to a police led operation in 2013 and at the end of this month we will mark the official end of RAMSI. The Solomon Islands Government has invited all participating members to attend the farewell event.

“While RAMSI will shortly come to an end, New Zealand’s commitment to the people of the Solomon Islands will not. We will continue to support efforts to promote peace and security in Solomon Islands through New Zealand Police and our wider programme of development assistance,” Mrs Bennett says.

Mrs Bennett will lead the New Zealand delegation to Honiara for the RAMSI farewell from 28-30 June. The delegation will travel by RNZAF 757 and will include representatives from the New Zealand Police, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and New Zealand Defence Force, including its Māori Cultural Group.

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