24 May 2006

Australia and NZ to withdraw some troops from Solomons

7:14 pm on 24 May 2006

Australia is to start withdrawing some of its troops from Solomon Islands from next week now that relative stability has been restored.

The defence minister, Brendan Nelson, says almost 400 Australian troops were deployed following rioting in the capital Honiara on April 18th and 19th.

The minister says after a review of the security situation and in consultation with the Solomon Islands government and regional military partners, only 140 Australian troops will stay.

The New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark, says New Zealand will also soon recall the extra military and police sent to the Solomons.

A key job for the remaining forces will be guarding the Honiara prison.