27 Feb 2015

Case put for Iraq deployment

5:20 pm on 27 February 2015

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop have met in Auckland, where they discussed New Zealand's imminent deployment to Iraq.

Murray McCully and Julie Bishop

Murray McCully and Julie Bishop Photo: RNZ / Chris Bramwell

New Zealand is to send a 143-strong training mission to Iraq.

The soldiers will work alongside Australian defence force personnel, but it will not be a badged ANZAC force.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told reporters she and Mr McCully discussed New Zealand's election to the United Nations Security Council and the Iraq deployment.

"To be part of a coalition of those who are determined to stop these brutal terrorist organisations like Daesh and assist the Iraqi government take back territory and protect their citizens who are being subjected to so much misery and atrocities."

Ms Bishop would not be drawn on whether Australia will expand its deployment to Iraq.

She said it already has 200 special forces personnel now.

"They've been there since late last year and have been involved in advising and assisting the Iraqi Defence Forces to ensure that they had the capacity and the capability to take on the terrorist organisation.

So Australia already has a considerable presence there and we will continue to review the composition of our presence."

Ms Bishop said Australia would not pay a ransom if an Australian was captured by ISIL.

"Australia does not as a matter of principle pay ransoms for hostages, it would only be providing funding to a terrorist organisation that would then be used against others.

"We would negotiate and use what other options that are available; there have been Australians taken hostage in the past in other circumstances and it is the policy of this government and previous governments that we do not succumb to the barbarity of ransoms being demanded in exchange for life.

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