Terrorism is a global threat and requires a global answer, and New Zealand — working with NATO — will continue to do its part, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said during a joint news conference with alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Stoltenberg arrived in New Zealand after a visit to Australia — another stalwart NATO partner. He is meeting with regional leaders to further cooperation between NATO and its partners in the Pacific. His visit coincides with Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper's visit to the Indo-Pacific region.
New Zealand probably is as far away from the North Atlantic as is possible on the globe, but the nation shares the common NATO values and is a strong friend of the alliance.
"These values include, of course, an abiding respect for democratic freedoms and human rights and a commitment to upholding the rules-based international order," Ardern said. "NATO has contributed to the longest sustained period of peace in post-war Europe, and this highlights the importance of multilateral institutions and the success they can achieve — something New Zealand has spoken often about."
The two leaders discussed the full range of concerns, from terrorism to climate change to cybersecurity to maritime security.
New Zealand Defense Force military trainers are part of NATO's Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan. Earlier this summer, Ardern announced the deployment will continue through December 2020. She also announced New Zealand service members will support NATO's Women, Peace and Security initiatives. "With a fledgling peace process underway, these roles will contribute towards safeguarding the hard-won gains Afghan women and girls have made since 2001, and to supporting women's participation in the peace negotiations," she said.
Stoltenberg praised New Zealand's efforts for peace and security around the globe. He noted Kiwi service members participated in NATO peacekeeping efforts in Bosnia and Kosovo during the 1990s. They have been in Afghanistan since the beginning of operations there, and New Zealand service members are working alongside NATO troops to train Iraqi forces.