Talks with US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel

  • Gerry Brownlee

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee and US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel held bilateral talks in Washington today.

Mr Brownlee is in Washington as part of his first official visit to North America as the Minister of Defence, where he also visited the United Nations in New York, and attended the Halifax International Security Forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

During their meeting, Mr Brownlee and Secretary Hagel reaffirmed the two countries’ close and longstanding defence relationship, and noted the progress made in recent years. They also discussed a number of defence and security issues, including the United States’ leadership role in the coalition to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

“We have steadily increased our defence engagement since the Washington Declaration was signed in 2012,” Mr Brownlee says.

“Regular engagement is now commonplace and we’re both looking forward to the continuing growth of this relationship in coming years.

“Today we discussed the numerous defence and security challenges facing the world at the moment, and we agreed it is important that we regularly touch base with key partners to discuss how to address them.

“I also want to acknowledge our close, positive working relationship during Mr Hagel’s tenure as Secretary, and I wish him all the best for his future when he leaves his current role.”

Mr Brownlee and Secretary Hagel both reaffirmed their commitment to a stable and secure Asia-Pacific region, and to countering the threat posed by violent extremism and returning foreign fighters.

While in Washington, Mr Brownlee is also meeting with US officials from the Department of State.