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NZ US Council Welcomes US Secretary of State

MEDIA RELEASE

25 July 2008

NZ US Council Welcomes US Secretary of State

The NZ US Council is pleased to welcome the United States Secretary of State, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, to New Zealand today.

Secretary Rice will meet with Prime Minister, Helen Clark and Foreign Minister, Winston Peters tomorrow, before taking part in a reception hosted by the NZ US Council.

“Secretary Rice’s visit is another welcome step in the development of New Zealand’s relationship with the United States. It is indicative of both the long-standing bond we have and also the significant growth of the relationship over recent years,” NZ US Council Chairman, Rt Hon James Bolger said.

“In all my years in politics and international relations, I have never seen the momentum we currently have in the relationship between New Zealand and the United States.”

Mr Bolger said official visits to Washington by the Prime Minster, Minister of Foreign Affairs and other Ministers during the past two years had considerably strengthened ties between the two countries.

“In addition, two US NZ Partnership Forum events in April 2006 and September 2007 provided the ideal platform for government officials and business leaders to take the relationship to a new level. These successful events demonstrated the increasing cooperation and real warmth between the two countries,” Mr Bolger said.

Secretary Rice’s visit will provide an opportunity for important bilateral discussions on a range of common issues, including international security, the development of Pacific nations and expansion of free markets.

“Securing a free trade agreement with the United States remains a key objective for the NZ US Council. We will continue working with business and government to ensure the historic closeness between the two nations can be mirrored in the areas of trade and investment,” Mr Bolger said.

The New Zealand leg of Secretary Rice’s visit will conclude on Sunday, 27 July when she travels to Samoa with Mr Peters to meet with Pacific Forum Foreign Ministers.

ENDS

About the NZUS Council – www.nzuscouncil.com

The NZ US Council is a non partisan body funded by both business and the Government to promote New Zealand’s broader relationship with the US. Two way trade with the US is valued at over $8 billion and the US is a leading source of investment, innovation and business ideas. The NZ US Council together with its Washington-based counterpart was the organiser of the US NZ Partnership Forum held in Auckland 9-11 September 2007. A further Partnership Forum will be held in Washington in 2009.

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