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Headline: NZ boosts diplomatic efforts to counter ISIL

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully today outlined the further diplomatic and humanitarian measures being considered as part of the government’s response to ISIL and the ongoing fighting in Iraq and Syria.

“The New Zealand government has been very clear that in addition to deploying non-combat troops to help train Iraqi forces, we also need to take steps to combat ISIL at the diplomatic level and provide humanitarian support to those displaced by the fighting in the region,” Mr McCully says.

“We are currently looking at options to base a diplomatic representative in Baghdad to serve as a conduit between the Iraqi government and the New Zealand military deployment, and assess how we can support better governance in Iraq.

“New Zealand will also expand its diplomatic engagement on international counter-terrorism by appointing a new Ambassador for Counter Terrorism.  

“Security and counter terrorism policy is a priority with the growth of the threat from ISIL and foreign fighters. Appointing a specialist Ambassador will allow New Zealand to further contribute to international counter terrorism forums, as well as assist with co-ordinating New Zealand domestic policy.

“We have already committed $14.5 million in humanitarian support for those displaced by the ongoing violence in Iraq and Syria. Today we can announce that $1 million of this funding will support a pilot programme aimed at delivering  basic education and skills training to more than 1,800 vulnerable young people in Jordan.

“We are currently reviewing further options for humanitarian support and capacity building in the region,” Mr McCully says.

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