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Goff To Visit Middle East

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Phil Goff, will make an historic visit to the Middle East early in the New Year.

“This will be the first visit to the Middle East by a New Zealand Foreign Minister for many years,” Mr Goff said.

"It is long overdue. The last visit to Egypt was made in 1991 and to Saudi Arabia in 1995. A New Zealand Foreign Minister has not visited the UAE since the state was founded in 1971".

“These three countries are by far our three largest trading and investment partners in the Middle East. We have rapidly expanding commercial interests in the area. $450m of New Zealand's exports go to these markets.

“We are looking to strengthen our political and economic ties. But my visit is also an opportunity to highlight New Zealand’s significant contributions to peacekeeping and other security efforts in the region.”

Mr Goff will visit the UAE from 6 to 8 January, where he will follow up on economic links raised during the recent visit to New Zealand by the UAE Ministry of Finance. While in Saudi Arabia from 9 to 10 January, he will meet the Saudi Foreign Minister and sign a trade and technical cooperation agreement. Mr Goff will then visit Egypt, our fastest growing market in the region, from 11 to 15 January.

From the Egyptian capital he will visit the Sinai MFO at El Gorah, where he will meet the 26 peacekeepers in the New Zealand contingent.

Ends



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