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PM to attend CHOGM and hold EU talks in Brussels

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister of New Zealand

14 November 2005 Media Statement

PM to attend CHOGM and hold EU talks in Brussels


Prime Minister Helen Clark will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta from 25 to 27 November. She will also address the Commonwealth Business Forum on arrival in Malta on 24 November.

The summit will bring together leaders from 53 Commonwealth countries representing nearly one-third of the world’s population.

Helen Clark said she was looking forward to visiting Malta again after a successful visit there last year.

"The Commonwealth gives New Zealand access to many nations and regions with which we have few other active links. For us it is a window on the world of the Caribbean; much of South Asia and the Indian Ocean; and West, East and Southern Africa," Helen Clark said.

The leaders' summit has a broad agenda. Trade, development, governance, combating terrorism/promoting tolerance and networking for development are the major themes for the retreat sessions.

“A key objective for this CHOGM will be to make a strong statement urging all WTO Members to work together to ensure that sufficient progress is made in Hong Kong in December to enable the successful conclusion of the Doha Round of trade negotiations next year.

"The fight against terrorism, will be a topic of discussion at the meeting. I will be interested in possible synergies between our own support for regional interfaith dialogue and the Commonwealth's consideration of promoting religious tolerance," Helen Clark said.

CHOGM will be preceded for the first time by a Commonwealth Foreign Ministers Meeting in Malta from 23 to 24 November as a part of the new Commonwealth governance arrangements. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters will attend the Foreign Ministers Meeting.

From Malta Helen Clark will visit Belgium on 28 and 29 November. She will hold discussions with the Belgian Prime Minister Verhofstadt. She will also meet EU Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, and several EU Commissioners, including those with responsibilities for External Relations, Trade, Agriculture, and EU Enlargement.

Other calls will include the EU High Representative for European Security and Defence Policy, Javier Solana, the NATO Secretary General, de Hoop Scheffer, who visited New Zealand earlier in 2005, and the President and Members of the European Parliament.

“These high level contacts will enable me to reaffirm the importance of New Zealand’s relations with the EU across a wide range of issues at a time when the EU is deliberating some major issues affecting its future and at a critical juncture in the Doha Round,” said Helen Clark.

Helen Clark leaves New Zealand on 23 November, returning on 1 December.

ENDS

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