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US Involvement In Military Training Exercise Welcomed

11 April 2012

US Involvement In Military Training Exercise Welcomed

The announcement that the United States military will take part in a training exercise in New Zealand has been warmly welcomed by the NZ US Council.

“This positive development shows how far we have come in the relationship in recent years” said NZ US Council Executive Director Stephen Jacobi.

Mr Jacobi was reacting to the announcements by Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman and US Ambassador David Huebner yesterday that the NZ Defence Force would host the Alam Halfa exercise, starting on 26 April, involving 35 US Marines and 41 US Army personnel working alongside New Zealand forces.

“New Zealand and the United States are already co-operating actively in Afghanistan and elsewhere where our values and interests coincide. It makes sense to ensure the maximum inter-operability between our armed forces to ensure the safety of our personnel and the success of these important missions. This exercise marks a major step forward and should become the norm for defence co-operation between the two countries”.

Mr Jacobi said the NZ US Council had long advocated the need to build a relationship between the United States and New Zealand which met both countries’ needs and aspirations in the 21st century.

“Defence and security co-operation is an important element of a relationship which is becoming ever more broad-based. It complements other aspects of the relationship particularly in the areas of disaster relief and sustainable development in the South Pacific. Both countries will benefit from closer alignment and from frank discussions when our perspectives differ”.

Mr Jacobi said the future of the relationship would be discussed at the NZ US Council’s 10th anniversary conference to be held in Auckland on 4 May.

“The Council’s anniversary conference will examine the outlook for the relationship in the light of both the Wellington Declaration signed in November 2010 and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations now underway. These elements, along with closer defence ties, indicate the relationship is in fine shape and well placed to contribute positively to New Zealand’s future.”

About the NZUS Council – www.nzuscouncil.com
The NZ US Council is a non-partisan body established in 2001 and funded by both business and the Government to promote New Zealand’s broader relationship with the United States. Two-way trade with the US is valued at over $8 billion and the US is a leading source of investment, innovation and business ideas. The Council’s 10th anniversary conference will be in held in Auckland on 4 May 2012 (www.nzusconference.co.nz)


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