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Goff to Adelaide for regular NZ-Australia talks

Goff to Adelaide for regular NZ-Australia talks

Foreign Minister Phil Goff leaves for Adelaide tomorrow for his regular six-monthly consultations with Australian counterpart Alexander Downer.

"This year we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of CER with Australia which is reflected in the on-going strength of the relationship between the two countries," Mr Goff said.

"New Zealand and Australia continue to work closely on a number of regional issues, and among the topics we will discuss are the deteriorating situation in the Solomons, our joint involvement in the Bougainville Transitional Team, combating terrorism and transnational crime in the Pacific, and our on-going cooperation to stop people smuggling.

"There are also several pressing international issues to look at, including developments with North Korea, post-war reconstruction in Iraq, Operation Enduring Freedom and the on-going campaign against terrorism, the Middle East Roadmap for peace, and efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

"However the evolving situation in the Solomons, and the response to any formal request for assistance from the Solomon Islands Government and Parliament, will clearly dominate the agenda.

"The plight of the Solomons will be discussed further at a special meeting of Pacific Forum Foreign Ministers in Sydney next Monday.

"Monday's meeting will be an important opportunity for all Forum members to discuss the situation, and the range of assistance that might be provided in response to a formal request.

"New Zealand and Australia have been concerned for some time about the deteriorating situation in the Solomons. Monday's meeting will allow Pacific Island nations to express their views on how the Pacific Forum can best respond to this situation," Mr Goff said.

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