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UN General Assemb. speech highlight of Goff trip


UNGA speech highlight of Goff trip

Foreign Minister Phil Goff leaves today on a three-week trip that will include an address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York and consultations with the European Union in Rome.

Mr Goff will also visit Mongolia, Beijing, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Washington, where he will discuss a range of issues with the members of the United States Administration, Senate and House of Representatives.

At the UN, Mr Goff will deliver New Zealand's statement in the Leaders' Debate and speak at a special high-level plenary debate on HIV/Aids.

"The General Assembly this year will be of particular importance as it is the first gathering of member states since the Iraq crisis. It will be a chance to reflect on the past year and to look at global priorities for the future," Mr Goff said.

"I will reaffirm New Zealand's commitment to the UN system, and our belief that the UN needs to continue reforms so it remains a relevant and effective body that can respond to the challenges of the 21st Century.

"As New Zealand is currently Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, I also intend to promote at the UN issues of importance to the Pacific such as regional security, HIV/Aids, and environmental concerns."

Mr Goff will also have series of bilateral meetings with other Foreign Ministers while in New York. He will attend a Commonwealth Foreign Ministers and chair the South West Pacific Dialogue meeting with Foreign Ministers from Australia, Indonesia, PNG and the Philippines, and the Prime Minister of Timor Leste.

The importance of maintaining momentum on disarmament issues will also be on the agenda for a meeting with New Agenda Coalition counterparts from Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, Sweden and South Africa.

Mr Goff begins his trip by making a three-day visit to Mongolia. New Zealand has worked closely with Mongolia in recent years on human rights issues and provided assistance through NZAID towards public sector reforms, including the formation of the Mongolian Human Rights Commission. He will meet the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, and lead New Zealand's delegation at the International Conference of New and Restored Democracies, a major intergovernmental forum promoting democracy, good governance and human rights.

In Beijing, Mr Goff will meet his counterpart, Li Zhaoxing, State Councillor and former Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan, and other newly-elected leadership.

Consultations with the EU Presidency, currently held by Italy, on 19 September will be the focus on the European leg of the trip.

"The EU is very important to New Zealand. It is our second-largest trading partner, our second-largest source of overseas visitors, and a significant foreign investor. We also work together closely in international relations," Mr Goff said.

"Regular consultations with the Presidency are a valuable way for New Zealand to register its interests with the EU's decision-makers. I will take the opportunity to update them on developments in the Pacific, including the outcome of the recent Forum, and the current situation in the Solomon Islands, where the EU is providing assistance.

"I will also be interested to get a read-out on the latest developments in the Middle East, where the EU plays a significant role and is a co-sponsor of the Roadmap for Peace." Enroute to Rome Mr Goff will speak at the International Atomic Energy Agency's annual conference in Vienna, and visit Slovakia and Slovenia, countries that become full members of the EU next May.

ENDS


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