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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 July, 2003, 16:36 GMT 17:36 UK
Solomons: Can the peacekeepers succeed?
Solomon Islands locals wave from the observation deck while watching Australian troops disembark
An Australian-led peacekeeping force has started to arrive in the Solomon Islands to try and bring peace back to the troubled archipelago.

Some 2,500 troops and police from New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Tonga will provide policing and military back-up to help the existing security forces combat the large number of rebels and militiamen roaming the country

The current violence stems from long-term tensions between the Istabu, the indigenous population of the main island, Guadalcanal, and the Malaitans from the neighbouring island of Malaita.

Can the international intervention force restore law and order? Was Australia right to send troops to the region?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:

This issue should have been resolved years ago. The governments of Australia and the Solomon Islands have tried repeatedly to have their case heard in the UN Security Council to have a United Nations-sponsored intervention or peace program. Every time, the Security Council is revealed as a talking shop, when China uses its veto, because the Solomons have in the past recognised the independent government of Taiwan.
Michael Arcidiacono, Australia

Look at it, international cooperation still endures!!!
Lindolfo Pedraza, US/Mexico

As far as I can see the intervention force will only succeed in some things and fail in others because there are too many dishonest people in power who want to rule the country.
Megz Jane, Solomon Islands

Is this just a way to take over the countries raw materials like gold and timber? know some Solomon islanders and this was their worry. Surely the islands destiny is up to its own people!
Peter \nelson, England UK

I think having an intervention force is a good idea and probably the only way out for my country. This will probably enable those who are genuinely trying to rebuild our country back to do their job without e fear or harassment.
Marson Lilo, Solomon Islands

My cousins are in the Solomon Islands and they all oppose the Australian intervention
Kikwebati, Canada
My cousins are in the Solomon Islands and they all oppose the Australian intervention. We see this as just another form of colonialism. The peoples of Solomon Islands have a rich history and culture; we can run our own country thank-you very much. There are many educated youth from the islands who can do a better job than the Australians who don't know the realities of our country.
Kikwebati, Canada

There is no doubt that the situation in Solomon Islands is bad and that the men with the guns run the show. That includes the police, who are little more than an ethnic militia and should be disbanded. There is also no doubt that Solomon Islanders will welcome the intervention force, because it will at last bring some law and order to the country, especially the capital Honiara. The problem for the intervention force will be to reconstruct a failed state, and that is likely to take some years.
Stewart Firth, Fiji

What the Australian Government is doing should be applauded. Australia has virtually no economic interests in the Solomon's and it really shows our goodwill towards the Pacific with our willingness to intervene. The people of Solomon Island support this action and we should do everything possible to help them out of there current trouble.
Mark Lugg, Australia

Now it is the Australians turn to show at least to their region, that they are the regional policeman! What interest is there for Australians , otherwise!
Srinivasan Toft, Denmark

Australia is very familiar with this region. They tend to be conservative about committing troops so if they sent troops there must be a real need to do so.
Sherry Beth, USA

I'm currently working in the Solomon's - have been here for the last year - and even though there are major problems here, they are not half as bad as the numerous journalists currently in town are trying to portray. For example, the term "warlord" is totally inapplicable here and in the "Profile of Harold Keke", the writer - perhaps in his attempt to create sensational news - completely puts the blame on Keke when in fact the real problem has been caused by those in Honiara in government posts, in the police and the MEF militants who are still holding onto their guns. On this vein, let's not forget that had Australia intervened three years ago, none of this would have happened. Still, better late than never.
Zarou, Eritrea

Sending troops to the Solomon Islands is without doubt a good thing and the right thing to do but what about Liberia????
Hans, China

It is the only hope for our country
Godfrey (S/Islander), New Zealand
More than anything else, it is the only hope for our country. Not only to help restore law and order but to aid our government do what it was suppose to do. In saying this, this campaign can only succeed into the future if measures to rid corrupt politicians and government officials are taken as well. The lawlessness is just a tip of the ice-berg. Many cheers to the Kangaroos and the Kiwis and other Pacific Islands participating.
Godfrey (S/Islander), New Zealand

We have been living in the Solomons for 32 years. I have eight children, four of whom are married to indigenous Solomon islanders. I do think that the intervention force can succeed.
It is a relatively minor faction causing this unrest, and the media is giving a dramatized version to the world.
We have been deeply saddened by the events of the last few years, to see these beautiful isles descend into chaos. Dorothy Parkinson, Australia

I have relatives in the Solomons and has been there three weeks ago. The law and order situation is as bad as it could get and it is about time such action is taken.
The unspoken fear of the unknown is prevalent amongst the residents of Honiara. With those responsible for maintaining law and order becoming the law breakers themselves, people are helpless when harassed.
I see no reason why the Intervention Force Should not succeed. The majority of the people of Solomon Islands are fed up with the criminal elements.
George Clay, Finland

I am not in the Solomon Islands and I am glad.
Stavros, Albania

I have recently just returned back here after years away. I have welcomed the current Australian lead international intervention as it has become apparent for a long time now that since the ethnic tension the people of my country have found it difficult to sort out their difficulties.
The assistance that we are about to receive from the people and government of Australia as well as our Pacific counterparts is something we not only want but need.
This intervention mission will only be a success if we the people of Solomon Islands take that vital step to help our selves with the assistance that we are receiving. Tiana, Solomon Islands

There's no doubt that the Solomons, despite the best efforts of the government in Honiara, needs help.
There are energy shortages, persistent violence against people and property, threat, intimidation and intolerance. The pseudo-military and guerrilla-style gang apparatus needs to be removed and a strengthened police service introduced.
I wish the Australian, New Zealand, Fijian and other forces success. The Solomons deserve it, as do we all.
Andrew Whibley, UK

The Australians have demonstrated their capacity to lead complex operations with Interfet in Timor, I am convinced they will succeed again in the Solomons.
Jim, Canada

It seems to me that Australia is doing the right thing, the humanitarian thing, without any huge gain foreseeable such as oil... ahem...
The idea of South Pacific States forming a pool of resources is good. Stick with it!
James Orr, Hong Kong

It is unwise for the Australian Expeditionary Force not to utilize the experience and wisdom of pre-independence British District Officers who were the main upholders of law and order and general administration in these islands.
I was a Papuan New Guinea Patrol Officer I think the present PNG basket case will soon follow the Solomons anarchy.
The horse has bolted and cannot be again broken in without tears.
John Allen, Australia

The Solomon Islands are very near to being a failed state. It would be a criminal act for Australia not to intervene.
Chris, Australia

We have a friend in the Solomon Islands whose parents have a marine salvage business over there. On his visits to the UK he often comments on how frightening it is seeing people he knows carrying weapons and manning roadblocks.
He left the UK six months ago to return and help them cope but we have heard nothing from him since. It is kind of worrying when you loose contact with someone in that sort of situation. We just hope him and his family are okay.
James Hanlan, UK

Yes, I think that the intervention force is beneficial. They will succeed in terms of law and order. The rebels will now be aware that the soldiers are well armed so they will not take a chance.
On the other hand there will be casualties should the situation worsens.
Samuel P Prasad, Suva, Fiji


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