The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer,
and the New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Phil
Goff, have praised the work of the International Peace Monitoring
Team (IPMT) to Solomon Islands which completed its 20-month deployment
The Australian-led IPMT was deployed as a neutral international
presence in support of the Townsville Peace Agreement (TPA) signed
in October 2000 and included police from Tonga, Cook Islands and
Vanuatu, in addition to Australian and New Zealand personnel.
"We congratulate all those men and women who served with the IMPT
for a job well done in successfully supporting home-grown efforts
to end ethnic conflict in Solomon Islands especially through the
collection and containment of illegally held weapons," said Mr Downer
and Mr Goff.
"Their achievements, in support of the work of individuals and
institutions in Solomon Islands, also made an important contribution
to community confidence-building and the restoration of peace."
The Ministers highlighted the IPMT's recent work in disposing of
some 2000 weapons surrendered into its custody as another important
step towards building peace and stability in Solomon Islands.
"The departure of the IPMT is based on a joint desire to deliver
Australian and New Zealand assistance in ways which more directly
address the evolving situation in Solomon Islands," the Ministers
"The IMPT has played a valuable role in supporting the TPA and
helping Solomon Islands end ethnic fighting but other serious challenges
"A key focus of Australia and New Zealand assistance will now be
to provide increased support to strengthen Solomon Islands' capacity
to deal with the major law and order and economic challenges it
"The IPMT does not have a mandated role in either of these areas
and its departure reflects the changed circumstances on the ground
in Solomon Islands.
"The end of the IPMT deployment does not in any way reflect a lessening
of Australia and New Zealand's firm commitment to support Solomon
Islands' efforts to address its own problems."
Media enquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 / Julie McDonald (Departmental)
02 6261 1555
The International Peace Monitoring Team (IPMT) was an unarmed and
neutral organisation which numbered some 50 personnel at five team
sites (three on Guadalcanal and two on Malaita) and a Headquarters
based at Henderson on the outskirts of Honiara. The IPMT was established
in November 2000 at the request of the signatories to the Townsville
Peace Agreement (TPA).
The central role of the IPMT under the TPA was to support the indigenous
Solomon Islands Peace Monitoring Council (PMC). The IPMT worked
closely with the PMC on confidence-building programs in towns and
villages affected by the 1998-2000 ethnic dispute in Solomon Islands
which was based in the provinces of Guadalcanal and Malaita. The
IPMT was also mandated to receive and monitor the safe containment
of arms surrendered in accordance with the TPA and to monitor and
report to the PMC on implementation of the TPA.
During its deployment to Solomon Islands, representatives from
the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, AusAID, Australian and New Zealand
Defence Forces, Australian Federal Police, New Zealand Police and
Australian Department of Defence served with the IPMT. A number
of police personnel from Cook Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu and several
Commonwealth members also participated in the IPMT.