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Afghan Government Wants Closer Links With NZ

23 January 2002

The Afghan interim government has indicated to Associate Foreign Affairs Minister Matt Robson that it would like closer relations with New Zealand.

New Zealand has also been offered the use of facilities in the British embassy in Kabul, says Matt Robson.

Matt Robson met with Afghan Foreign Affairs Minister Abdullah Abdullah, and Torek Faradi the key economic advisor to the new president, Hamid Karzai.

“We have agreed to some sort of diplomatic relations with the new government in Afghanistan. That could mean the appointment of an honorary consul from the Afghan community in New Zealand.”

Further discussions will need to take place, says Matt Robson.

Negotiations with his counterpart in the British government, Secretary of State for International Development, Clare Short successfully concluded with the offer of British embassy facilities in Kabul.

“The Afghan Interim government has indicated that it can put a New Zealand C130 plane to use as soon as it arrives,” says Matt Robson.

“They are particularly interested in getting dried milk products and meat killed according to Halal protocol from New Zealand to Afghanistan.

“I was told that Afghanistan would also like to use our expertise in banking systems. The interim government is aware of the work that New Zealand Post has done in other countries in setting up systems.

“They are also keen to take up the offer of help to re-build government infrastructure and agricultural systems,” says Matt Robson.

Ends

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