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New Ambassador to Russia

12th August 2002

New Ambassador to Russia

New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Russia will be career diplomat Stuart Prior, Foreign Minister Phil Goff announced today.

“Russia, an important member of the international community, is undergoing an impressive programme of economic reform as part of its bid for membership of the World Trade organisation (WTO).

“New Zealand is an active member of the working party on Russia’s WTO accession and looks forward to welcoming Russia as a member once those reforms are complete.

“Russia today is a very different place from the Soviet republic which existed little over a decade ago. Its increasing integration with the global community is evidenced by its commitment to the coalition against terrorism, the strengthening of ties with organisations such as NATO, the agreement on arms reduction reached with the US and its ongoing work toward membership of the WTO.

“I look forward to the strengthening of New Zealand’s relations with Russia during Mr Prior’s term,” Mr Goff said.

Mr Prior previously served at the New Zealand Mission in Moscow in the late 1970s. He has also served in Canberra and London, has worked in the Prime Ministers’ Department and has extensive experience in development assistance issues.

He will take up his posting in January 2003, replacing Geoff Ward who will return to Wellington at the end of this year.

Ends

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