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NZ Army Hosts International Army Partners

1 November 2007

NZ Army Hosts International Army Partners

Senior Army leaders from some of New Zealand's closest military allies have met in Christchurch as part of a long-running agreement to ensure the armies can operate effectively together.

The ABCA annual meeting, which finished in Christchurch yesterday, involved the deputy chiefs of the United States, United Kingdom, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand armies.

ABCA's purpose is to ensure the effective integration of member's respective capabilities so they can conduct land operations successfully together.

The New Zealand Army became a full member of ABCA last year, after having observer status within the organisation since 1965. This year's executive council meeting chaired for the first time by the New Zealand Army, through the Deputy Chief of Army Brigadier Phil Gibbons.

Major General Lou Gardiner, chief of the New Zealand Army, said the ABCA capitalised on historical links forged between the member armies.

"We have always had shared security concerns and have worked closely together in the past to achieve acceptable solutions to those concerns. This organization ensures that we can work closely together when we have shared security interests now and in the future," Maj Gen Gardiner said.

He said the focus of the organization was to achieve interoperability between its members so they could work as seamlessly as possible when operating together.

Major General Simon Mayall, Assistant Chief of the General Staff of the British Army, said strong coalitions and trusted partners were essential in facing current and future challenges.

"At this time of high operational tempo, the engagement with close Allies through the ABCA Program is hugely important to the UK. Although the ABCA Program has been around for some time, it has never been more relevant. If it didn't exist, we would have to invent it," Maj Gen Mayall said.

Major General Guy Thibault, the Canadian Army's Assistant Chief of Land Staff said Canada was very pleased to participate in the first New Zealand hosted ABCA Executive Council and National Directors meeting of the ABCA Programme.

"The relationship between the two countries extends beyond our commonwealth ties. We are glad the Kiwis join us at the ABCA table and look forward to having our soldiers exercise and work together to improve the security and defence of both our nations," Maj Gen Thibault said.

ENDS

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