New Zealand PM thanks UAE for evacuation support in Afghanistan

Wam/Abu Dhabi
Filed on August 23, 2021
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. — AP file

Jacinda Ardern, officials praise the strength of UAE-New Zealand relationship

Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, thanked the UAE on Monday for supporting her country’s evacuation efforts in Afghanistan.

Peeni Henare, New Zealand’s Minister of Defence, has called Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi, UAE's Minister of State for Defence Affairs, earlier on Monday to commend the UAE’s role.

Ardern said at a Press conference: "I can say that the group were evacuated from Afghanistan to the United Arab Emirates, where arrangements were made for their travel to New Zealand with the help of Australia’s Defence Force.

"I do want to thank our partners, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and the US who worked on securing the airport and for their continued support in what remains a very difficult situation on the ground."

Matthew Hawkins, New Zealand’s Ambassador to the UAE, told the Emirates News Agency (Wam): "The UAE’s unwavering support in getting New Zealanders home from Afghanistan demonstrates the strength of our relationship.

"More importantly it shows a kindness and generosity that is already felt by the 4,000 New Zealanders who live, work and raise their families in the United Arab Emirates."

For his part, Group Captain Nick Olney, New Zealand Defence Force Senior National Officer for the NZDF contingent, said: "I’d like to thank the UAE for its generosity in hosting the NZDF contingent as we undertake our biggest evacuation effort for many years.

"With the UAE’s support, we are working with partners to bring New Zealand citizens, permanent residents who are in Afghanistan and their immediate families to safety, as well as those who have been put at risk due to their direct connection to New Zealand efforts in Afghanistan," Olney added.

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