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Goff, Downer to hold six-monthly talks

Goff, Downer to hold six-monthly talks

Foreign Minister Phil Goff will meet his Australian counterpart Alexander Downer at Victor Harbour, South Australia, this weekend for the latest round of their six-monthly talks.

Mr Goff said discussions would focus on regional issues including the upcoming Pacific Forum meeting in Apia, joint efforts to bring peace to the Solomons, and the scheduled New Zealand-Australia meeting with South East Asian nations in Laos in November.

On Sunday the Ministers will also announce the outcome of the undersea boundary delimitation talks that have been taking place between New Zealand and Australia over the past four years.

“This has been a busy year in the region. New Zealand’s year in the chair of the Pacific Islands Forum has resulted in the development of an ambitious plan for closer regional cooperation and integration. New Zealand and Australia are taking a very close interest in how this develops,” Mr Goff said.

"In the Solomons, New Zealand is working closely with Australia to plan the economic reconstruction phase of the regional assistance mission.

"On the trade front, ASEAN (the Association of South East Asian Nations) recently invited New Zealand and Australia to discuss possible free trade talks. This would be the focus of a special summit meeting in Vientiane, Laos, towards the end of the year.

“I’m looking forward to discussing with Mr Downer the next moves in these important regional initiatives.”

Mr Goff said the Ministers would also discuss the successful launch in Wellington of the trans-Tasman Leadership Forum and look further at the development of a Single Economic Market covering New Zealand and Australia.

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