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PM not ruling out more troops to Iraq

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/02/2017 Karen Sweeney
NZ troops © Getty NZ troops

Prime Minister Bill English won't rule out sending more troops to fight Islamic State in Iraq later this year if US President Donald Trump makes the request.

While Mr Trump says he has a plan to combat Islamic State, Mr English says there's a long way to go before a plan that meets US objectives is developed, let alone New Zealand's.

"I wouldn't completely rule it out but I haven't seen any indication that troops would be required or that it would be desirable," he said in Queenstown on Friday.

New Zealand forces are working with Australians to build the capacity of the Iraqi armed forces and police.

"It's our intention to continue the work we're doing with Australia," he said.

He said he didn't want to underestimate the complexity of the situation in Syria.

"The US is working on it, trying to find a path through to some kind of stability ... that looks to us to be a real challenge so we'll just wait and see what comes out of that," he said.

Both New Zealand and Australia are part of the five-eyes intelligence alliance with the US, which Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described as an "intimate relationship".

Australia would consider any further request to build on its presence in Iraq on merit.

"We will assess any and every request from the United States on its merits and make a decision. We haven't received that request but when we do we'll assess it very carefully," he said.

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