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NZ to participate in proliferation security exerci

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence


27 March 2006
Media statement

NZ to participate in proliferation security exercise


New Zealand will participate in a multinational Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) exercise in Australia next week as part of its commitment to preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction, Defence Minister Phil Goff said today.

Exercise Pacific Protector 2006, a ground/air interdiction exercise, will be held in Darwin on 3-6 April. New Zealand will contribute an Air Force Boeing 757 and crew.

"Exercise Pacific Protector will see a number of PSI countries cooperating to test inter-agency and international procedures for detecting, interdicting and managing an air trans-shipment of weapons material within a realistic but fictional scenario," Mr Goff said.

“The PSI is an important multilateral non-proliferation initiative that aims to foster cooperation among participating states to counter the trafficking of weapons of mass destruction. New Zealand's participation is consistent with our broad non-proliferation objectives, and our on-going support for the PSI.

“We welcome the opportunities that PSI regional exercises, such as this, provide us to discuss, test and update our non-proliferation systems with key partners.”

In addition to Australia and New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, Great Britain and the United States will also participate.

US participation will comprise an Air Force re-fuelling plane and some ground-based personnel from the Department of Homeland Security.

"US participation in Pacific Protector demonstrates the importance that it, like New Zealand and other PSI participants, attaches to this international non-proliferation initiative,” Mr Goff said.

“Our joint participation in this exercise does not represent a change in the US’s Presidential Directive on military exercises with New Zealand.”

Representatives from a number of other countries, as well as media from around the region, will be invited to observe the exercise. A website has also been established at www.defence.gov.au/psi.


ENDS

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