RAMSI STILL A FIXTURE IN SOLOMON ISLANDS

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Aussie-led troops in it for long haul

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, June 1, 2010) – Australia's defence chief says he anticipates Australian soldiers will be in Solomon Islands for some time, although he is not prepared to say exactly how long.

Australia contributed 1,500 of the 2,500 soldiers drawn from across the region when the Regional Assistance Mission, or RAMSI, was first deployed in 2003.

The aim of RAMSI was to contain ethnic strife that threatened the country's security and its economy.

Air Chief Marshal, Angus Houston has told a parliamentary committee in Canberra that there are now just 80 troops in the Solomons.

He says the local police there are becoming more effective.

"I would anticipate that we will have a small element there for some time to come," the air chief marshal said.

"I'm not preparted to put a time or a date on it. But suffice it to say that we're now down to a very low level."

 

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