From: Defence Media Centre
Date: Tue 2/07/2013 7:00 PM

Australia-led Combined Task Force concludes role with RAMSI

The Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Ash Power, said the conclusion of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) support to the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) was a result of the stable security situation and capacity of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) and Participating Police Force (PPF) to respond to public order management issues.

“As a result of the much improved security situation in Solomon Islands, the multi-national military contribution to RAMSI ceased on 1 July 2013 and we will start a phased redeployment from Solomon Islands. Australian personnel and equipment will be progressively withdrawn in the coming months. All ADF personnel will return to Australia by the end of September.

“The Australian-led Combined Task Force 635 (CTF635) has included rotations of Defence Force personnel from New Zealand, Tonga and Papua New Guinea who will now begin the task of redeploying personnel and equipment,” Lieutenant General Power said.

Lieutenant General Power said the ADF’s primary role on Operation ANODE was to provide military, security, and logistic support to the PPF to assist RAMSI as required.

“Security in Solomon Islands and the ability of its government to re-establish law and order and build public confidence has improved markedly since the ADF first arrived to assist in restoring public order.

“The progress to date means the time is now right for us to return home.”

Lieutenant General Power commended the efforts of ADF personnel who have been committed to the country continuously since 24 July 2003.

“Approximately 7270 Australian personnel have deployed to Operation ANODE since 2003. Of that number, about 2112 people have been from Australian Army Reserve units.

“These deployments have also relied on Service personnel from the Royal Australian Air Force with regular air support to transport personnel and equipment and also the Royal Australian Navy contributing amphibious ships and the Landing Craft Heavy fleet to assist the operation.

“Operation ANODE has been a great demonstration of how our Reserve forces can be called upon with confidence to deploy and run successful multi-national operations with our regional partners.

“Notwithstanding these contributions, we stand by the people of Solomon Islands and will continue to support the nation through humanitarian and health programs, and remain poised to respond to security issues into the future,” Lieutenant General Power said.

Note: Lieutenant General Power is available for interview.

Media contact: Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999