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Visit By NATO SG Mr Jaap De Hoop Scheffer

29 March 2005 Media Statement

Visit to New Zealand by NATO Secretary General Mr Jaap De Hoop Scheffer

Minister of Defence, Mark Burton, announced today that NATO Secretary General Mr Jaap De Hoop Scheffer will make an official visit to New Zealand from 29 to 31 March 2005.

Mark Burton welcomed the visit noting that it was the first time a NATO Secretary General had visited New Zealand.

“New Zealand has become increasingly involved with NATO since it took on a more active role in peacekeeping.

“NZDF troops have served under NATO command in Bosnia over several years and a small group of NZDF staff officers work in the Headquarters of the NATO led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

“The Secretary General’s visit will enable us to share views on areas of strategic importance for both New Zealand and NATO. In particular, I welcome the opportunity to discuss matters of mutual interest, such as the New Zealand defence force role in Afghanistan and our involvement in the international campaign against terrorism.” Mark Burton said.

During the Secretary General’s visit he will meet with Prime Minister Helen Clark, Defence Minister, Mark Burton and with the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Marion Hobbs.

The Secretary General will also give an address to the Victoria University Institute of Policy Studies and the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs on 31 March.

ENDS

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