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NZ To Participate in US Non-Proliferation Exercise

NZ to Participate in US Led Non-Proliferation Exercise

New Zealand, along with sixteen other countries, is participating in a multinational Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) exercise this week as part of its commitment to preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction, Defence Minister Phil Goff said today.

"Leading Edge is a US sponsored exercise based around a command post simulation which New Zealand will be participating in", said Mr Goff.

“Exercise Leading Edge will test the ability of PSI partner nations to coordinate an appropriate response to the threat of weapons proliferation. The exercise will see a number of PSI countries cooperating to test inter-agency and international procedures for detecting, monitoring, and managing a proliferation threat within a realistic but fictional scenario.

"The exercise takes place over 3 days with teams from the participant nations working in groups. An inter-agency team, led by members of the New Zealand Defence Force will represent New Zealand and work in a syndicate with teams from Singapore, Japan and Canada.

“The PSI is an important initiative that aims to foster cooperation among participating states to counter the trafficking of weapons of mass destruction, in a manner consistent with relevant domestic and international law. 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 exercises, such as this, provide us to discuss, test and update our non-proliferation systems with key partners.”

"Participants in Leading Edge include Australia, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Norway, and the Netherlands amongst others.

"US sponsorship of Leading Edge demonstrates the importance that it, like New Zealand and other PSI participants, attaches to this international non-proliferation initiative and this is another example of both countries cooperating in areas of mutual concern while taking into account existing policy constraints,” Mr Goff said.

ENDS

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