SYDNEY, Australia (ABC News Online, Oct. 1) - Planning has begun in Solomon Islands for the possible withdrawal of some of the military forces attached to the Australian-led intervention force.

Australia has 1,400 Navy, Army and Air Force personnel deployed in the Solomons to provide security and logistic support.

Regional contributions include more than 470 police and troops from New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Fiji.

Special coordinator of the Regional Assistance Mission, Nick Warner, says a decision on when troops are pulled out is up to individual governments.

"The role of the military is to prove logistic support to the operation and to provide protection to the police if they're threatened or come under attack," he said.

"We are looking at and planning for the commercialization of important elements of logistic support and in time that will allow some military elements to leave."

October 2, 2003

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