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Goff names new Ambassador to Poland

Hon Phil Goff Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

12 August 2004

Goff names new Ambassador to Poland

New Zealand’s new Ambassador to Poland will be career diplomat Philip Griffiths, Foreign Minister Phil Goff announced today.

Mr Griffiths will be New Zealand’s first Ambassador based in Warsaw. The new embassy will be officially opened early in 2005.

“The enlargement of the European Union from 15 to 25 members means we have to work harder to have our voice heard, especially in the countries of central Europe,” Mr Goff said.

“In terms of size and population, Poland is the largest of the EU’s new member states, and the sixth largest overall. It is likely to play an important role in the expanded EU, including as a major agricultural producer. There are also good opportunities to expand two-way trade. That is why the decision was taken last year to open an embassy in Warsaw.”

Mr Goff said relations between New Zealand and Poland were long-standing and warm.

"New Zealanders and Poles had fought together in Europe during World War 2, while the descendants of ex-servicemen and the group of orphans who came to New Zealand during the war formed a large part of our significant Polish community.

The two countries also share common views on a variety of United Nations issues, including disarmament and the environment, and through the Antarctic Treaty.

“There are some strong links between our two countries but we need to know more about each other. The opening of an embassy in Warsaw, and Mr Griffiths’ appointment there, gives us the opportunity to achieve that,” Mr Goff said.

Mr Griffiths is currently director of Disarmament Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. His previous overseas postings were to Bonn, Tehran, Vienna and Tokyo. He will take over responsibility for Poland later this year from the current Ambassador in Berlin, Peter Hamilton.

ENDS

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