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Brownlee heads to global meeting on IS

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/10/2016

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee is off to Paris to discuss the campaign against Islamic State with his global counterparts.

Mr Brownlee on Saturday departs to a meeting of the 13 countries that make up the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State.

He said members would next week be discussing progress on various fronts, including the current coalition effort to retake the last major IS stronghold of Mosul, in northern Iraq.

"As we have seen recently, Daesh [IS] continues to pose a significant threat not only to the citizens of Iraq and Syria but also the wider world," Mr Brownlee said.

New Zealand has about 140 Defence Force personnel in Iraq training local forces to fight IS, with the commitment recently extended until 2018.

On Friday, Mr Brownlee denied a report from the British Guardian newspaper that Kiwi SAS soldiers were operating in Iraq alongside special forces from the US, Britain and Australia.

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