New Zealand signs Nato partnership deal

Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmunsen, right, shakes hands with Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key on 4 June, 2012 Mr Key says the relationship between New Zealand and Nato has grown over the last 10 years

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New Zealand has signed a deal with Nato to boost cooperation in areas such as terrorism, military training, disaster relief and intelligence.

The deal was signed by NZ Prime Minister John Key and Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

The agreement came as the Nato chief is due to visit Australia as part of efforts to bolster ties with non-Nato nations engaged in Afghanistan.

Mr Key says the deal formalises and builds on the relationship with Nato.

"The relationship and engagement between New Zealand and Nato has developed considerably over the past 10 years, mainly through our involvement in the Nato-led ISAF mission in Afghanistan,'' Mr Key said in a statement.

New Zealand first sent troops to Afghanistan in 2003 and currently has less than 200 troops remaining in the country. They are due to pull out next year.

There are currently about 130,000 Nato troops serving in Afghanistan from 50 contributing nations, the International Security and Assistance Force says.

The agreement with Nato, signed in Brussels on Monday, came as New Zealand is seeking a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council from 2015-16.

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