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Saudi Arabian minister visits New Zealand

Media Statement 3 June 2002


Saudi Arabian minister visits New Zealand

Saudi Arabian commerce minister Dr Osama bin Ja'afar Al Faqeeh arrived in New Zealand yesterday for a six-day visit, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said yesterday.

Dr Faqeeh arrived in Auckland yesterday evening. Today, he met New Zealand business people who have interests in the Middle East, and then flies to Wellington in the afternoon.

Tomorrow, he is to be officially received by Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright at Government House. He will meet Mr Sutton and together they will formally open the Joint Commission meeting in the Legislative Council Chamber at Parliament.

Dr Faqeeh will also meet Education Minister Trevor Mallard, Health Minister Annette King, Science Minister Pete Hodgson, as well as local business people.

On Thursday, he is to meet Foreign Minister Phil Goff, and, with Mr Sutton, will sign off the declaration from the Joint Commission meeting. He is to fly to Christchurch that afternoon where he will meet Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton and local business people.

On Saturday, Dr Faqeeh returns to Saudi Arabia.

Mr Sutton said Saudi Arabia was an important market, and Dr Faqeeh's visit was significant.

"I welcome his visit, which will focus on trade and economic issues. This is the first Joint Commission between New Zealand and Saudi Arabia, and is a significant step forward in our relationship. It gives us a good opportunity to focus on the relationship and to develop it together."

ENDS

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