New Zealand, Australia defence talks, IS on agenda

Wellington, Sep 17 (IANS) The trans-Tasman response to the Islamic State terrorist group in the Middle East will be on the agenda when the defence ministers of Australia and New Zealand hold their annual meeting on Friday.

New Zealand Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee is to host Australian counterpart Kevin Andrews in Auckland to discuss regional and international security issues, including their responses to the fight against IS and future capability projects, Brownlee said in a statement on Thursday, Xinhua reported.

“Australia is our closest security and trade partner and it is important that we stay closely in touch on key international defence and security issues,” Brownlee said.

The two countries have sent troops to Iraq to help train Iraqi security forces in their fight against IS. New Zealand has up to 143 troops at the training base just north of Baghdad on a two- year mission.

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