12 Feb 2015

Prime Minister rules out troops fighting in Iraq

5:58 pm on 12 February 2015

The Prime Minister has again ruled out New Zealand troops being involved in fighting against Islamic State in Iraq, despite the United States indicating it might put combat troops on the ground there.

Prime Minister John Key

Prime Minister John Key Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Ja'afari is due to meet Foreign Minister Murray McCully, the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister tomorrow.

It is expected that he may ask New Zealand to help train Iraqi troops.

The American president, Barack Obama, has asked Congress to authorise a three-year military campaign against Islamic State, which could include limited ground operations.

In the light of that request, the Defence Minister, Gerry Brownlee, was asked this afternoon if he was willing to put a timeframe on any possible New Zealand deployment.

He has refused to put any timeframe on the potential deployment of New Zealand troops to Iraq, saying that level of detail has not yet been considered.

However, the Government says that it is still considering whether to deploy troops to train Iraqi soldiers.

If it does, it says it would want to be sure it's welcome and that the training would provide significant benefit.

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