Kiwi soldier who died in Jordan named

20-03-2016 10:24 PM

Ammon News - AMMONNEWS - The New Zealand Defence Force have named a Kiwi soldier who died in Jordan as Sergeant Paul Andrew Hartley.

The 30-year-old national liaison officer who died last Thursday in a non-combat incident at a Coalition headquarters in Jordan was from Auckland.

Plans were under way to repatriate Hartley's body so he could be reunited with his family and friends in a private ceremony.

The NZDF has a number of liaison officers at headquarters throughout the Middle East and around the world.

The man's family was being supported by the NZDF.

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said he was aware of the soldier's death.

He said it was always a tragedy when any soldier serving overseas lost their life, particularly for their families.

He explained the coalition headquarters in Jordan helps with logistics and analysis of the situation to help troops in Iraq.

"We've got a lot of guys up there who are largely in support of our unit in Taji...we want to know what the risks are."

"I would just express deep sympathies to the family and at the same time gratitude for the service that their loved one has given to the people of New Zealand."

Labour's defence spokesperson Phil Goff wanted to recognise the soldiers that work in "sometimes lonely and difficult situations".

He said they would be under pressures that others wouldn't be aware of given the nature of their jobs.

"A person's death at any time is a tragedy, and when that person is a serving soldier in another part of the world, that makes the sense of loss even greater.

"A special acknowledgement to the soldiers who serve as this soldier did. Our hearts go out to the soldier's family."

An NZDF spokeswoman would not confirm or deny whether the coalition headquarters referred to the same base in Jordan. The "coalition" likely refers to Operation Inherent Resolve, the US-led effort against Islamic State.

"Each of the [UNTSO] groups has a slightly different mission statement but essentially they are there to ensure that peace agreements or cease fires are observed and to report any activities which violate these agreements or could threaten international peace and security in the region," the NZDF website says.

UNTSO was the first peacekeeping operation established by the United Nations, with the first military observers arriving in the Middle East in June 1948. UNTSO's activities are spread over five host countries – Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, and Syrian Arab Republic.


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