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Goff names High Commissioner to Vanuatu

Goff names High Commissioner to Vanuatu

New Zealand’s next High Commissioner to Vanuatu will be career diplomat Paul Willis, Foreign Minister Phil Goff announced today.

“Vanuatu is a important regional partner for New Zealand and we have a longstanding and friendly relationship,” Mr Goff said.

“We work closely with Vanuatu in regional organisations such as the Pacific Islands Forum, and we value its contribution to regional initiatives such as the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

“Vanuatu, as a developing country with a young and growing population, faces many challenges and New Zealand is committed to working closely with its government and people to address them.

"Paul Willis has considerable Pacific experience, having previously been posted in Rarotonga and the Solomon Islands, where he was also deputy leader of the International Peace Monitoring Team that preceded RAMSI.

“More recently Mr Willis coordinated the review of the Pacific Islands Forum by the Eminent Persons Group, and was closely involved with New Zealand’s hosting of the Auckland Forum and the Forum Special Leaders meeting in April.

"He has also been our representative on the Pacific Forum Taskforce developing the Pacific Plan for strengthened regional cooperation and integration.”

Mr Willis is currently deputy director of Pacific Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He will take over as High Commissioner in Port Vila from Brian Smythe, who is returning to Wellington.

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