US-NZ defence arrangement signed

  • Jonathan Coleman

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman and US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta today signed the Washington Declaration, a new defence cooperation arrangement, at the Pentagon in Washington DC.

“New Zealand’s relationship with the US has advanced significantly in the last three years, with the signing of the Wellington Declaration in 2010 and Prime Minister John Key’s visit to Washington last year,” Dr Coleman says.

The Washington Declaration is a companion document to the Wellington Declaration. Like the Wellington Declaration, the defence arrangement signed today has two key elements – regular high level dialogue, and enhanced cooperation within the Asia Pacific region.

Specifically, the Washington Declaration enhances cooperation in key areas that New Zealand and the US have been working on closely together over the past two years, namely maritime security, including counter-proliferation, counter-terrorism, and anti-piracy. It also sets out cooperation for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the region, and promotes peace-keeping and peace-support initiatives.

“This high-level arrangement recognises the significant security cooperation that exists between New Zealand and the US within the context of our independent foreign policy, and seeks to build upon that cooperation in the years ahead,” Dr Coleman says.