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New Defence Attache position in Saudi Arabia

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence


13 June 2006
Media statement

New Defence Attaché position in Saudi Arabia

Defence Minister Phil Goff announced today the establishment of a new Defence Attaché position in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The role of a Defence Attaché is to provide liaison between New Zealand defence interests and those of the nation in which they reside.

Brigadier Neville Reilly will take up the position in July. Brigadier Reilly is a highly experienced and distinguished member of the New Zealand Defence Force and former Defence Attaché in Jakarta.

“In recent years, New Zealand has increased its commitments to peace support operations in the Middle East and Central Asia.

"We currently have around 160 New Zealand Defence Force personnel in the region with substantial commitments to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai and the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organisation based in Syria, Israel and Lebanon.

"We also have personnel working within the United Nations Missions in Afghanistan and Iraq”. Mr Goff said.

The appointment of a resident Defence Attaché will allow better representation of New Zealand’s long-term defence and security interests in this strategically critical part of the world. Brigadier Reilly will eventually be cross-accredited to a number of other Middle Eastern nations.

“New Zealand stands to gain enhanced insight and operational efficiencies in the area, and the position will add value to New Zealand’s bilateral relationships with our key Middle Eastern partners”.

The Defence Attaché will support New Zealand troops operating in the region and will help build Defence and security relations with Middle Eastern nations and other militaries operating in the region.

New Zealand now has 17 Defence Attachés cross-accredited to over 32 countries. The majority of the Attaches are based in Asia and the Pacific but New Zealand is also represented in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and at the United Nations. The most recent addition was the posting of an Attaché to Japan in April 2005.

ENDS

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