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Goff names new Ambassador to Iran

Hon Phil Goff Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

24 August 2004

Goff names new Ambassador to Iran

New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Iran, who will also be accredited to Afghanistan and Pakistan, will be career diplomat Hamish MacMaster, Foreign Minister Phil Goff announced today.

Mr Goff said Iran occupied an important strategic position between the Middle East and Asia, and was New Zealand’s third-largest market in the region, particularly for agricultural exports.

"It is also an increasingly important market for other sectors. There are excellent prospects to build on sales by our information and telecommunications technology sectors, as we’ve seen with the recent successful visit to Iran by Communications and Information Technology Minister Paul Swain.

"The embassy in Tehran is New Zealand's longest-standing mission in the Middle East, and plays an important role in assisting potential New Zealand businesses entry into the Iranian market.

"The Ambassador has an important role to play in Afghanistan, given New Zealand's close focus on the security situation there, and the presence of our Defence Force personnel in Bamiyan. We also have a significant development assistance programme helping with the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

"Pakistan is a country with which New Zealand is seeking a stronger relationship. The restoration of Pakistan to the Commonwealth following democratic elections, and its acceptance this year as a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum, will see a growth in contact between the two countries," Mr Goff said.

Mr MacMaster joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1988 and is currently Deputy Director of its Middle East and Africa Division. He has previously served in Tehran, and has also been posted to Ankara and Riyadh.

ENDS

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