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Goff travels to French Polynesia, Solomon Islands

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

25 July 2003

Goff travels to French Polynesia, Solomon Islands

Foreign Minister Phil Goff heads to French Polynesia on Sunday to attend an informal forum with French President Jacques Chirac before flying to the Solomon Islands for talks with the government.

Mr Goff said the Informal France-Oceania Meetings in Papeete would see leaders from throughout the Pacific discuss regional security, good governance, sustainable development, and regional co-operation and exchange issues with the French leader.

"My trip to French Polynesia reflects the importance New Zealand places on our relationship with France, both in Europe and in the Pacific. France remains a major player in the Pacific region and President Chirac's visit to our part of the world offers a rare and valuable opportunity to engage directly with him on a broad range of regional concerns.

"New Zealand works closely with France on emergency and disaster relief operations in the Pacific, and we cooperate as aid donors. This trip is also an opportunity to strengthen relations with French Polynesia as France evolves greater responsibility to the territory.

“The Papeete meetings also complement next month's Pacific Island Leaders Forum in Auckland, and I will have a chance to talk to a number of leaders about the issues they hope will be given priority in Auckland."

Mr Goff leaves French Polynesia on Tuesday (Wednesday NZT) so he can get to Sydney in time to join Australian counterpart Alexander Downer on a flight to the Solomons.

“The two-day visit to Honiara will give us an opportunity to see how the strengthened assistance to Solomon Islands is shaping up in its early stages.

"We will be talking with Prime Minister Kemakeza about the strengthened assistance package and how we can work with the Solomon Islands government and people to ensure the success of the intervention.

"We will also meet with local representatives from NGOs, churches and women's groups to explain the intent of the mission and listen to their views and concerns.

“Naturally, we will also touch base with the New Zealand Police and military personnel in Honiara to get a feel for how they see Operation Helpem Fren developing,” Mr Goff said.

All Phil Goff’s media releases and speeches are posted at www.beehive.govt.nz

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