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Goff Visit To Australia/Vietnam July 19-27

Foreign Minister Phil Goff departs tomorrow on a nine-day trip to Australia and Vietnam.

On the Australian leg Mr Goff will have his six-monthly consultations with Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. While in Vietnam the Minister will attend the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Ministerial Meeting and the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference (PMC).

"There will be a wide range of topics to discuss with Mr Downer. Developments in the Pacific such as the Solomons, Bougainville and Fiji will be on the agenda while Indonesia and East Timor will also be discussed. Current global and bilateral issues will also be covered.

"My visit to Vietnam will be the first by a New Zealand Minister from this government. Meetings will include talks with the Vietnamese Foreign Minister and Minister of Justice.

"During the visit I will have the opportunity to visit New Zealand ODA-funded projects. Currently New Zealand provides $2.7 million in bilateral aid to Vietnam."

The Minister will attend the ASEAN Regional Forum and Post-Ministerial Conference in Hanoi. New Zealand is a dialogue partner along with other nations such as the United States, Russia and Australia which will also be attending.

"The ARF has developed into a valuable forum for exchanging views on security in the Asia Pacific region. My key objective is to reinforce New Zealand's status as a participant in regional security dialogue.

"The meeting will also provide the opportunity to engage with many of the region's Foreign Ministers.

"At the PMC I will underline the importance New Zealand places on linkages with ASEAN and to assess at first hand the state of ASEAN cooperation and cohesion. I will also have the opportunity to have bilateral meetings with Foreign Ministers of other dialogue partners," Mr Goff said.

Ends

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