Visiting New Zealand on a four-day visit (18-21 February 2015) General Knud Bartels, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee discussed New Zealand’s increased cooperation with NATO on maritime security, interoperability and its continued commitment to NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces. Speaking with The Honourable Gerry Brownlee, New Zealand’s Minister of Defence, General Bartels stated: “New Zealand is a highly valued partner and NATO looks forward to building on this important partnership.
General Knud Bartels, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee is given a Māori welcome “Pōwhiri”.
Arriving in New Zealand, General Bartels was welcomed with a traditional Maori (Pōwhiri) ceremony and Honour Guard. Remembering the courage and important work of the Armed Forces, the Chairman was honoured to pay his respects and lay a wreath during a ceremony at the National War Memorial for all the fallen soldiers of the New Zealand Armed Forces. “Those who gave their lives for our freedom shall never be forgotten” said General Bartels.
During the visit, General Bartels met with Air Vice Marshal Kevin Short, Vice Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force and Ms Helene Quilter, New Zealand’s Secretary of Defence and exchanged views on maritime security, regional and global challenges, and ways to strengthen NATO – New Zealand military cooperation. The Chairman said: “We are committed to building military cooperation on a reciprocal basis with New Zealand”.
At the Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Auckland and the Devonport Naval Base, General Bartels expressed his appreciation for New Zealand’s commitment to the Resolute Support mission and its participation in Operation Ocean Shield, NATO’s counter piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden and off the Horn of Africa. The Chairman said: “It is important to build on the successes from ISAF and Operation Ocean Shield and support the progress we have achieved together during the last decade. Together we can make a difference and we have proved that”. Maritime Security enables sea lanes, transport routes, communication systems and energy supplies to remain open and secure. “New Zealand’s experience and commitment to NATO’s efforts to tackle piracy are key to eliminating current threats and protecting global peace and security” said General Bartels.
Giving a lecture on “Current and Future Challenges facing NATO” at the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, General Bartels stressed the interconnectivity of world events and the essential roles partner nations like New Zealand play: “We may be far away geographically but we are linked by common values and commitment”. The Chairman also met with high level officials at the Centre for Security Studies for a Security Roundtable to exchange perspectives on the existing global and regional challenges. “NATO can benefit from New Zealand’s insight of the region and ensure that we can work together in the future on areas of mutual interest”, said General Bartels, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee.
Leopold James De Rothschild
OSCE NATO Section