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PM to attend Chogm this weekend

25 February 2002 Media Statement

PM to attend Chogm this weekend


Prime Minister Helen Clark will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Coolum, Australia this weekend.

Helen Clark said that Zimbabwe will be a focus of attention by Commonwealth leaders at the conference, which runs from Saturday morning through till Tuesday.

“Coming as it does only a week before the Zimbabwe presidential elections, CHOGM offers an opportunity to reinforce concerns set out by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group about the violence and intimidation of the opposition which make a free and fair election virtually impossible.

“New Zealand is very concerned at the events in Zimbabwe and we believe that this is an issue on which Commonwealth leaders need to send a clear signal.

“Other issues we will be discussing include terrorism, environment and sustainable development, including the World Summit to be held in Johannesburg in September, and the need for a global approach to managing refugee issues.

“Discussions at the leaders’ retreat will focus on a report prepared over the past two years by a High Level Review Group on the future shape and direction of the Commonwealth. New Zealand is not a member of the HLRG, but contributed to the report which is intended to shape the future of the Commonwealth.

“CHOGM also provides the opportunity for meetings with other Commonwealth leaders.

“Phil Goff will also be attending the Ministerial section of CHOGM which immediately precedes the Leaders' meeting. A Ministerial meeting on Small States will discuss an new agenda for Commonwealth work in this area, an area of immense interest to our Pacific neighbours,” Helen Clark said.


ENDS

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