Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Minister extends NZDF Middle East, Africa deployments

The Government has approved two-year extensions for four NZDF deployments to the Middle East and Africa.

Defence Minister Judith Collins said the deployments are long-standing New Zealand commitments, which reflect Aotearoa’s ongoing interest in promoting peace and stability, and making active contributions to the maintenance of the international rules-based system.

New Zealand’s peacekeeping commitments have all been extended until September 2026.

These include the three-person commitment to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, the 28-person contingent to the Multinational Force and Observers in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, and the eight-person contribution to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation in the Middle East.

“Security and stability challenges in the Middle East and Africa can have a far-reaching impact, including on the security and prosperity of New Zealand. This is why New Zealand contributes to peacekeeping deployments to maintain stability and promote peace in the Middle East and in Africa,” said Mr Peters.

New Zealand’s long-standing commitments to Middle East maritime security efforts, including the Combined Maritime Forces in Bahrain, will continue for a further two years until June 2026. 

“This reflects the importance New Zealand places on freedom of navigation and the safety of sea trading lanes. Events impacting the free flow of trade through this region can rapidly have flow on effects for New Zealand,” said Minister Collins. 

New Zealand will undertake a six-month rotation commanding the Combined Maritime Force’s Combined Task Force 150 in early 2025. This task force is responsible for coordinating multinational activities to counter smuggling, piracy and terrorism in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden. This Command Team will be supported by the deployment of an Anzac-class frigate for a two-month period. 

A mine countermeasure task unit will also be deployed to United States Naval Forces Central Command for six months some time between May 2025 and June 2026, to work alongside partners to promote open sea lines of communication. 

“These deployments provide significant opportunities for the New Zealand Defence Force to develop and test skills and capabilities that are vital for protecting New Zealand’s interests,” Ms Collins said.

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