|Last update: 07-Feb-2006 10:32||NATO Update|
NATO and New Zealand to enhance cooperation
Visiting NATO HQ on 3 February, New Zealand Defence Minister Phil Goff signed with the NATO Secretary General an agreement on the exchange of classified information.
The agreement makes it easier for NATO and New Zealand to work together in peacekeeping operations and in responding to crises.
Forging new relationships
New Zealand has contributed forces to NATO-led operations in the Balkans and is currently contributing forces to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
During the meeting, Mr. Goff and the Secretary General discussed the planned expansion of ISAF to the South of Afghanistan, NATO’s support for African Union peacekeepers in Darfur and NATO’s assistance to the Pakistan earthquake relief effort.
Last year, Mr. De Hoop Scheffer visited New Zealand, the first vist by a NATO Secretary General to the country.
Improving NATO’s cooperation with its current partners and forging new relationships is a key item on NATO’s political agenda this year, in the run up to the November NATO Summit in Riga.
“We need to ensure that we have the closest possible partnership with those countries that can, and are willing to, help defend our shared values,” NATO Secretary General said in a speech at the Munich Security Conference, 4 February.
“To my mind, that means also building closer links with other likeminded nations beyond Europe – nations such as Australia, New Zealand, South Korea or Japan.”