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Published:January 25th, 2017 11:18 EST

Mattis Confers With Australian, New Zealander Counterparts

By SOP newswire3

In separate calls yesterday, Defense Secretary James Mattis spoke with his counterparts from Australia and New Zealand, according to readouts of the calls provided by Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis.

Mattis spoke by phone with Australian Minister for Defense Marise Payne to discuss the U.S.-Australia defense relationship, Davis said. Mattis thanked Payne for Australia`s support to counter-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant operations in the Middle East, as well as for Australia`s continued contributions in Afghanistan.

Mattis told Payne that he was encouraged by progress with U.S.-Australian force posture initiatives, including the recent signing of a cost-sharing arrangement, Davis said.

Mattis said he looks forward to discussing issues in more detail when he and Payne meet, the captain said.

In his phone conversation with New Zealand`s Minister for Defense Gerry Brownlee to discuss the U.S.-New Zealand defense relationship, Mattis thanked Brownlee for New Zealand`s support on various areas of mutual interest, Davis said.

Mattis said he was pleased to see the historic visit by the U.S Navy destroyer USS Sampson to New Zealand last November, and was grateful that the ship was able to aid in the response to the Kaikoura earthquake, Davis said.

Mattis also told Brownlee that he looks forward to working with him on further strengthening the U.S.-New Zealand relationship in the future, the captain said.

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