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Australian troops to stay in Solomons as long -

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Australian troops to stay in Solomons as long as needed

Broadcast: 24/03/2008

Reporter: Tony Jones

The Federal Government has renewed its commitment to the Solomon Islands, with a new beginning to
political relations after the recent election.

Transcript

TONY JONES: The Federal Government has renewed its commitment to the Solomon Islands, saying
Australian peacekeeping troops will remain there as long as they're needed. The political
relationship between the two countries had been rocky under the previous Solomons Prime Minister,
Manasseh Sogovare. But the Australian Government says the election of Derek Sikua as Prime Minister
is a new beginning. Dr Sikua says the new focus of the regional assistance mission is to help
rebuild the Solomons.

DR DEREK SIKUA, SOLOMON ISLANDS PRIME MINISTER: Areas like infrastructure, development, schools,
clinics, more assistance towards income generation projects.

STEPHEN SMITH, FOREIGN MINISTER: We can't be there just for law and order's sake, it's too to
create an environment of law and order to enable nation building to occur, which is why we're now
shifting the focus.

TONY JONES: Australian troops were sent to the Solomons in 2003 as part of a peacekeeping force to
restore law and order after a coup in 2002.