Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Euro crisis on menu as Keys dine at No10

John Key with Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the signing of a partnership agreement in Brussels. Photo / NZ National Party
John Key with Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the signing of a partnership agreement in Brussels. Photo / NZ National Party

Prime Minister John Key is getting down to the business end of his trip to Britain with a visit to No10 Downing St, and private meetings in the heart of the London financial district.

He and wife Bronagh are being hosted by British Prime Minister David Cameron at a private dinner along with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. They are all personal friends.

The euro debt crisis is expected to be high on the agenda before Mr Key departs for an appointment with Dr Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, and meetings in what was his old stamping ground when he worked in the city for Merrill Lynch.

After joining the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations on Monday, Mr Key travelled by train to Brussels for meetings with chiefs of Nato and the European Parliament.

He committed New Zealand to a co-operation agreement with Nato that is expected to last well after the Nato-led international force leaves Afghanistan.

Mr Key signed the agreement yesterday in Brussels with Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Nato, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, is a military alliance between the United States and Canada and 26 European countries.

Mr Key said the engagement between New Zealand and Nato had developed considerably over the past 10 years, mainly through involvement in Afghanistan.

"This arrangement is a move to capitalise on this engagement, and formalise the current more substantive relationship that exists between Nato and New Zealand."

The deal with New Zealand sets out steps to boost co-operation in fields such as cyber-defence, disaster relief, crisis management and training.

New Zealand has about 140 troops in Bamiyan province in Afghanistan while Australia has 1550, the largest non-Nato contingent in the 130,236-member international security assistance force. Both are due to withdraw next year.

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman said the agreement put together in a non-binding way a framework for future engagement instead of "drifting off" after Afghanistan.

DEAL STRUCK
What the Nato agreement means:
* Greater political consultation.
* Common approaches to security issues such as cyber threats, terrorism, piracy.
* Continued intelligence sharing.
* Enhanced inter-operability.

- Additional reporting: AP

- NZ Herald

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