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NZ, Australia To Boost Military Cooperation For Maritime Security
Source: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-11/16/c_131978897.htm
Source Date: Friday, November 16, 2012
Focus: E-Procurement
Country: New Zealand
Created: Nov 16, 2012

WELLINGTON, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand and Australian defense forces are to step up personnel exchanges and collaboration in Pacific maritime security as part of a program of increased cooperation, defense ministers from the two countries announced Friday.

New Zealand Defence Minister Jonathan Colemen and Australian counterpart Stephen Smith released details of the program in a joint statement after an annual meeting in the Australian city of Perth to discuss regional and global security issues.

A highlight of the program was increasing collaboration between the two navies in sealift and afloat support, which would allow for cross crewing of Royal Australian Navy and Royal New Zealand Navy vessels and afloat support to each other's fleets.

New Zealand would also send embedded observers next year to the biennial Australia-United States exercise, Talisman Sabre, with the aim of full participation from 2015.

They also announced a new phase in maritime capability sharing to improve bilateral maritime and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief cooperation.

Following successful secondments of New Zealand crew to Australian warships, Australia would provide seconded crew to Royal New Zealand Navy next year to enhance interoperability.

The statement acknowledged the success of their joint efforts with the International Stabilization Force in East Timor and the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, both of which are winding down, and close cooperation to support of the Papua New Guinea elections this year.

"The close Australia-New Zealand defense relationship has increased our capabilities to meet common security challenges, and we are committed to working to build on past success," Coleman said in the statement.

They reiterated their commitment to long-term security cooperation with regional neighbors and welcomed Tonga's offer to hold a Pacific Defence Ministers meeting early in 2013.

"The forthcoming South Pacific Defence Ministers meeting reflects both Australia and New Zealand's commitment to work closely with our Pacific Island partners to further strengthen regional security," Smith said in the statement.

They also discussed strategic developments in the Asia-Pacific and affirmed Australia and New Zealand's commitment to work closely with regional partners, including through the ASEAN ( Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Defence Ministers Meeting Plus process.
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