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Goff leads ministerial talks in Samoa

Hon Phil Goff Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

18 March 2005

Goff leads ministerial talks in Samoa

Foreign Minister Phil Goff, Immigration Minister Paul Swain and Associate Pacific Islands Affairs Minister Taito Phillip Field fly to Apia this evening for the inaugural New Zealand-Samoa Joint Ministerial Consultations.

"New Zealand and Samoa enjoy a close relationship through longstanding historical ties, family, educational and citizenship links," Mr Goff said.

“Both countries want to further strengthen the relationship through ministers meeting regularly in formally-scheduled talks on issues of mutual interest.

"We believe the consultations will also give a more modern expression to the Treaty of Friendship between New Zealand and Samoa,” Mr Goff said.

Topics for discussion include immigration, phytosanitary and quarantine issues, police cooperation, trade issues and various practical initiatives to strengthen the relationship.

The consultations also present a good opportunity to highlight the recent progress that has been made on biosecurity-phytosanitary issues which has cleared the way for further fruit and vegetable exports from Samoa.

Ministers will also discuss regional matters, including Pacific Islands Forum issues, development of the Forum's Pacific Plan, and regional trade integration.

Prime Minister Helen Clark and her Samoan counterpart Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi agreed at last year’s Pacific Forum to establish regular high-level whole-of-government consultations between Samoa and New Zealand.

The talks will be held on Saturday (Friday in Samoa) and the Ministers will return to New Zealand on Sunday.

ENDS

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