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Prime Minister visits NZ troops in Camp Taji, Iraq

PM John Key addresses troops at Taji Military Camp
PM John Key addresses troops at Taji Military Camp

Rt Hon John Key
Prime Minister

7 October 2015


Prime Minister visits NZ troops in Camp Taji, Iraq

Prime Minister John Key has visited New Zealand troops at Iraq’s Camp Taji.

Mr Key also met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and President Fuad Masum in Baghdad to discuss the campaign to defeat ISIL, and New Zealand’s contribution to it.

More than 60 countries are involved in the international coalition against ISIL, with New Zealand committing up to 143 troops to the Building Partner Capacity mission in Taji, to train Iraqi soldiers, alongside Australia.

“Our soldiers have a world-class reputation and they are carrying out their training mission brilliantly, in tough conditions,” Mr Key says.

“More than 2100 Iraqi soldiers have now been through the training programme, learning everything from how to detect IEDs to leadership skills. That training is helping save lives and defeat ISIL.

“The feedback from the battlefield is those soldiers we have trained have performed well and raised the standards of the soldiers around them.

“I leave the base more convinced than ever that we made the right decision to join the international coalition against ISIL, and reassured that our troops are making a valuable contribution in Iraq.

“I am also reassured that all appropriate measures are being taken to ensure their safety.

“As New Zealanders we should all be incredibly proud of their commitment and sacrifice.”

New Zealand’s contribution to Task Force Taji includes trainers, dedicated force protection personnel and logistics and medical specialists.

During his visit, Mr Key watched some of the training, toured the medical facilities and spoke with the troops, reiterating New Zealand’s commitment to the mission and thanking them for their efforts.

Mr Key said Prime Minister al-Abadi and President Masum both thanked New Zealand for its support and underlined Iraq’s commitment to defeating ISIL.

“I was also heartened to hear the Iraqi troops say the same. These young men are fighting to defend their families and their country and deserve our support.

“New Zealand cannot and should not fight Iraqis’ battles for them but we are making a valuable contribution.”

ends

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