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New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign.

Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee and Defence Minister Mark Mitchell say the liberation of Mosul is an important milestone in Iraq’s battle against ISIS.

“Losing the symbolic heartland of its so-called Caliphate in Iraq will serve as a severe blow to ISIS fighters and its supporters around the globe,” Mr Brownlee says.

“Through the New Zealand Aid Programme, we’re making a further $1.4 million contribution to the United Nations Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilisation. New Zealand made a similar contribution to the Fund last year.

“In the short to medium term, the Fund will continue to play a key role in stabilisation efforts, filling the gap between liberation and long-term rebuilding efforts.

“The retaking of Mosul will be a huge relief for its citizens, who have suffered for years under the brutal control of these extremists.

“Restoration of essential services and the rebuilding of physical infrastructure will now be a focus of the Iraqi government.

“While significant, Mosul’s liberation does not represent the end of the battle against ISIS. It will be important for Iraqi Forces to maintain the gains they have made.

“New Zealand remains committed to coalition efforts. Now is the time to demonstrate to ISIS, through our ongoing commitment, that Iraq and the global coalition are dedicated to defeating the terrorist threat,” Mr Brownlee says.

Mr Mitchell says the success in Mosul highlights the importance of the consolidated global effort invested in defeating the terrorist organisation.

“Although Mosul may seem a long way from New Zealand, we have seen how determined ISIS is to spread its corrupted ideology outside Iraq,” Mr Mitchell says. 

“New Zealand is a nation that relies on global stability for our trade and, because we love to travel, we have a direct interest in the global coalition's success.

“Efforts have ranged from military to humanitarian and stabilisation initiatives.

“New Zealand currently has up to 143 personnel deployed to Taji, providing training to Iraqi Forces engaged in battle against ISIS.

“I’m hugely impressed with the work our New Zealand Defence Force has been doing in Iraq, which I saw first-hand last month during my visit to Camp Taji.

“All New Zealanders can be proud of their efforts and know they have made a difference to the Iraqis’ efforts to defeat ISIS,” Mr Mitchell says

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