Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee travels today to the United States and Canada for calls at the United Nations in New York, attendance at the Halifax International Security Forum, and a bilateral visit to Washington, including a meeting with US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.
“The United Nations Secretariat is responsible for the day-to-day operations of 16 current peacekeeping deployments, and I’m glad to be visiting it so soon after our recent election to the United Nations Security Council,” Mr Brownlee says.
After New York, Minister Brownlee travels to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he will meet with Canadian Minister of National Defence Robert Nicholson and other Ministers while attending the Halifax International Security Forum.
The Halifax Forum brings together key decision-makers from governments, military, business and academia to discuss emerging global threats. This year’s discussions will focus on the growing tension in the Middle East, increasing competition for resources and cyber security.
In Washington Mr Brownlee will undertake a range of calls, including on Secretary Hagel.
Mr Brownlee says Secretary Panetta’s visit to Wellington in 2012, followed by his predecessor Jonathan Coleman’s visit to Washington in 2013 has set a pattern for regular Ministerial-level contact.
“I am very pleased to be able to meet with Secretary Hagel so soon after taking up the Defence role.
“I expect to have a wide ranging discussion with the Secretary, including the United States’ leadership role in the coalition to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and our current exploration of a potential New Zealand contribution.
“Canada and the United States are key defence partners for New Zealand. I’m looking forward to meeting my counterparts to exchange views on global security issues, as well as discussing how we can enhance our defence relationships.”