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Goff announces new Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

12th August 2002

Goff announces new Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

New Zealand’s next Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be career diplomat Jim Howell, Foreign Minister Phil Goff announced today.

“As a key country in a strategic part of the world, Saudi Arabia is important to New Zealand’s interests, and we need to be well represented there.

“The Kingdom is New Zealand’s largest trading partner in the Middle East, and the bilateral relationship covers common security, commercial, education and energy-related interests.

“The recent inaugural session of the Saudi / New Zealand Joint Ministerial Commission in New Zealand indicates the strengthening relationship between our two countries,” Mr Goff said.

Mr Howell will also be accredited as Ambassador to Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Together with Saudi Arabia, two-way trade with the Gulf states totalled nearly NZ$2 billion in 2001. All are potentially lucrative education, investment and tourism markets.

Mr Howell will also be accredited as Ambassador to Egypt, a significant dairy market with export values increasing more than ten-fold over the last decade.

Mr Howell is currently the Director of the Ministry’s Consular Division. He has served in Saigon, Bangkok, Lima, Kuala Lumpur, and The Hague. He was Consul-General in Los Angeles from 1996 to 2000. He takes up his position in Riyadh in February 2003, replacing Laurie Markes.

Ends

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