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Norwegian leader’s visit an historic first

10 March 2005

Norwegian leader’s visit an historic first

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that the visit to New Zealand by Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, starting on Sunday, would be the first by a Norwegian prime minister.

Mr Bondevik’s two days of official duties in Wellington and Auckland follow on from Helen Clark’s visit to Norway last year.

Helen Clark said that New Zealand and Norway had a lot in common, and that the visit would be an excellent opportunity to canvass a range of international and regional issues.

“There are many issues from human rights, and international security, to disarmament, the Antarctic, oceans issues, and climate change – where New Zealand and Norway are like-minded, and I look forward to discussing them with Mr Bondevik.

“Norway has a long history of involvement in conflict resolution, most notably in brokering the 1993 Oslo Accords in the Arab/Israel conflict. The visit will provide New Zealand with useful updates on the peace processes and conflict resolution with which Norway is engaged,” Helen Clark said.

Mr Bondevik will attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the National War Memorial in Wellington on Monday and call on Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright at Government House, before being formally welcomed at Parliament Buildings.

He will hold talks with Helen Clark and then with the full Cabinet. The two Prime Ministers are also scheduled to sign a new working holiday agreement at their joint press conference.

Mr Bondevik’s programme in Wellington includes an official luncheon at Parliament, dinner at Premier House hosted by Helen Clark, and an address at Victoria University co-hosted by the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs and the New Zealand Institute of Policy Studies.

On Tuesday the Norwegian leader will visit the University of Auckland before departing for Sydney.

ENDS

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