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Food and Agriculture Organisation head to visit

The director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, Jacques Diouf, would visit New Zealand for two days next week, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said Dr Diouf would visit Wellington and intended to meet Prime Minister Helen Clark, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Phil Goff, as well as himself and other ministers.

Dr Diouf's visit is part of a profile-building mission in the Pacific, and also to promote the World Food Summit meeting to be held in Rome, Italy, in November. Mr Sutton is expected to attend that meeting.

He said that New Zealand supported the work of the FAO.

"The FAO sub-regional office in Apia, Samoa, has done some good work. I was impressed with the possibilities and opportunities the organisation offered Pacific countries when I attended an FAO Pacific meeting in Wellington earlier this year."

Mr Sutton said the FAO also had an important role in supporting agriculture reforms and a proposed new round of World Trade Organisation negotiations

Next week's visit would be the third time Dr Diouf has visited New Zealand. He has been here in 1993 when lobbying for his candidacy for the FAO position, and again at CHOGM in Auckland in 1995 when he was promoting the World Food Summit scheduled for the following year.

ENDS


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