28 April 2015
The Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Tim Keating, visited Baghdad yesterday to meet his counterparts in the Iraqi Security Forces and coalition military leaders.
The main reason for the day-long visit was for LTGEN Keating to meet General Babakir Zebari, Chief of Staff of the Iraqi Army.
“General Zebari and I discussed the Iraqi Army’s training schedule and specifically the role of New Zealand Defence Force personnel who will soon be training Iraqi Security Forces at the Taji Military Complex near Baghdad.”
LTGEN Keating emphasized the experience that the New Zealand personnel would bring, and the partnership approach they would take into working with the Iraqi Security Forces. New Zealand was also keen to support the training of Iraqi trainers.
“General Zebari thanked New Zealand for providing valuable training assistance for his forces,” says LTGEN Keating.
“Engagement with the Iraqi Army leadership is important to ensure New Zealand personnel deployed to Taji can make the best possible contribution to the development of the Iraqi Security Forces.”
While in Baghdad LTGEN Keating also met New Zealand personnel based at the coalition headquarters, as well as senior coalition commanders.
The visit was not announced in advance for security reasons.