NATO Secretary General concludes visit to Australia and New Zealand
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg paid his respects at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra on Thursday (8 August 2019), concluding an official visit to Australia and New Zealand. Mr. Stoltenberg laid a wreath in honour of the Australian armed forces and those members who lost their lives in conflict. Later, the Secretary General addressed an event hosted by the Institute for Regional Security and the Australian National University's Strategic and Defence Studies Centre.
In Sydney on Wednesday, Mr. Stoltenberg met with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, and signed a renewed partnership agreement between NATO and Australia with Minister Reynolds on board the HMAS Hobart. “Australia is a highly valued partner for the Alliance,” said the Secretary General, pointing to the country’s deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. Mr. Stoltenberg also delivered a speech on the importance of partnership at the Lowy Institute in Sydney.
On Tuesday, the Secretary General visited Wellington, New Zealand for talks with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The Secretary General thanked the Prime Minister for New Zealand’s important contributions in the fight against terrorism, including its extended role in NATO’s training mission in Afghanistan, with experts focused on women’s rights. He also had discussions with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark. Mr. Stoltenberg finished the day with a speech at the Centre for Strategic Studies at Victoria University.
In Christchurch on Monday, Mr. Stoltenberg visited the Al Noor Mosque, where he laid a floral tribute in memory of the victims of the March 2019 attacks. He met members of the Muslim community and expressed his solidarity and deepest condolences.