Foreign Affairs Minister announces embassy closure in Iraq

  • Rt Hon Winston Peters
Deputy Prime Minister Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today the closure of the New Zealand Embassy in Baghdad.

“This decision to permanently close the Embassy was not taken lightly and is in no way an indication of any change in the value that New Zealand places on its relationship with Iraq”, Mr Peters said.

“The Embassy was opened in 2015 to support the New Zealand Defence Force military deployment to Iraq and, with the withdrawal of the majority NZDF troops from Taji earlier this year, the primary rationale for the Embassy in Baghdad has been removed.

“New Zealand is proud of the partnership that has developed between the two countries through our contribution to the Coalition to Defeat ISIS, including the training of over 47,000 Iraqi Security Forces through the joint Australia – New Zealand Building Partner Capacity Mission in Taji.”

“Although the Embassy is closing, our strong commitment to the global fight against terrorism remains. New Zealand will continue to contribute its other lines of effort against ISIS, including through a small number of military roles in the Coalition and the provision of stabilisation funding to Iraq,” said Mr Peters.

New Zealand currently deploys four NZDF personnel to Coalition Headquarters in Iraq and Kuwait, and five operational support roles based in Qatar. The mandate for these roles has been extended until June 2022.

The Embassy in Baghdad will close at the end of June and New Zealand’s formal accreditation to Iraq will transfer to the New Zealand Embassy in Abu Dhabi.