Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to NATO Headquarters on Friday for talks on the Alliance’s cooperation with New Zealand.
Calling the country a close partner in standing up for international security and the rules-based order, the Secretary General thanked the Prime Minister for New Zealand’s contributions in Afghanistan and Iraq, adding he looked forward to deepening cooperation in the future.
“Prime Minister Ardern, Jacinda, it’s great to have you here, welcome to the NATO Headquarters.
And New Zealand and NATO are far apart on the map but we are very close as partners. And we really appreciate the close partnership with New Zealand. We share the same values, we believe in a rules-based order and have worked together for peace and security for many years.
We also understand that many of the threats and challenges we face are truly global. Terrorism, cyber, proliferation of nuclear weapons, all these threats and challenges are a challenge both for NATO Allies and for New Zealand.
We welcome very much the close partnership. We see that in many different ways. We see that in Afghanistan where we have been working together for many years and New Zealand has contributed with personnel to the National Army Defence Academy, helping to train and educate Afghan soldiers and officers. And the purpose of our presence in Afghanistan is to prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for international terrorism. It’s still a difficult situation in Afghanistan, but we strongly believe that the best way to help to stabilize the country is to train the forces, build local capacity so they can stabilize their own country.
We’re also happy and glad that New Zealand plays a valuable role in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. You are training Iraqi forces. NATO has trained Iraqi forces for some time but we’re now scaling up our presence in Iraq with a new training mission and in our meeting today, we discussed how New Zealand and NATO can best coordinate our efforts in the fight against terrorism. Both in Afghanistan, in Iraq and elsewhere.
New Zealand also has maritime capabilities, which contribute to our shared security and we have seen that especially in our joint efforts to fight piracy off the Horn of Africa.
The Alliance also benefits from New Zealand’s expertise and insight in Asia-Pacific security and we look forward to continue our close consultations. Today we discussed the full range of our cooperation. We identified the areas where we could do more together, including work on maritime security, cyber defence and Women, Peace and Security.
So I look forward to continue to cooperation with New Zealand and with you and once again, warm welcome to NATO Headquarters.”