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New Zealand to open embassy in Cairo

16 May 2004 Media Statement
Budget 2004

New Zealand to open embassy in Cairo

New Zealand is to open a new embassy in Egypt in 2006, Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today.

Helen Clark said $1.65 million had been flagged in Budget 2004 to allow work to begin on establishing the new post.

“The growing prominence of the Middle East in world affairs calls for greater attention, and New Zealanders have a direct stake in the stability of this region," Helen Clark said.

“Egypt exerts a significant and moderating influence throughout the Middle East and beyond. It is a leader of the Arab world, respected among Islamic countries and members of the Non-Aligned Movement.

“An embassy in Cairo would help protect and expand New Zealand's interests in a large and challenging market. Egypt is our second largest Middle East market, taking exports of $114 million annually; it is also one of our largest markets without any resident representation.

“The benefits of the Cairo post will also extend throughout the Middle East. It will support the important dairy trade New Zealand has with Iraq, one of our largest whole milk powder markets in the region

“Our relations with Egypt are excellent. We work closely together on nuclear disarmament issues in the New Agenda Coalition, and in multilateral organisations such as the World Trade Organisation.

"New Zealand has also participated in the Sinai Multinational Force and Observers, which monitors the border between Egypt and Israel, since its establishment in 1982,” Helen Clark said.

New Zealand's Ambassador to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has been accredited to Cairo since 1985. Egypt established a mission in Wellington in 1975 – the only Arab country ever to do so – but closed it in 1988. The Egyptian Ambassador to Canberra has been accredited to New Zealand since then.

ENDS

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