FROM 7-12 November 2019, Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel, Darren Chester visited the Middle East region and Cyprus to meet with Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel and advance Australia’s defence engagement with key regional leaders.
Mr Chester said it was a privilege to spend time with Australian troops deployed in the Middle East, and to thank them for their service.
“I am immensely proud of our ADF personnel deployed to the region, whose tireless efforts contribute to the safety and security of the Middle East,” Mr Chester said.
“ADF efforts in the region have been valuable in assisting the territorial defeat of Daesh, supporting the security of Afghanistan and contributing to regional maritime security.”
On 7 November, Mr Chester met with Major General Yousef Hnaity, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Jordanian Armed Forces, to discuss regional security challenges, the development of the Jordanian Armed Forces Non Commissioned Officer Corps and support to veterans, as well as the bilateral defence relationship.
In Cyprus, Mr Chester had the great pleasure of visiting United Nations peacekeeping troops deployed to the United Nations Peacekeeping mission, and meeting with the Force Commander to the Mission, Australia’s Major General Cheryl Pearce.
“Australia is proud to be able to contribute to this mission, which is incredibly important in maintaining peace and stability throughout Cyprus,” Mr Chester said.
“Australia has a strong history of support to peacekeeping operations. Our contribution of ADF personnel and expertise to the United Nations remains a core element of Australia’s contribution to global peace and security. With the appointment of an Australian in this position, we are showing Australia as a global leader within the peacekeeping space.”
“Australia remains committed to the United Nation Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security agenda, through the deployment of female peacekeepers and gender advisors, and the provision of training and capacity building initiatives which enhance our partners’ capacity to deploy more female peacekeepers to peacekeeping missions.”
While in Cyprus, Mr Chester also met with Mr Savvas Angelides, Minister for Defence, received a tour of the Nicosia buffer zone, and had the honour of laying a wreath at Wayne’s Keep – where five Australian soldiers are laid to rest.
Office of the Hon. Darren Chester, Canberra ACT.