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Peters winds up visit to United Kingdom

Rt Hon Winston Peters Minister of Foreign Affairs

02 December 2005

Peters winds up visit to United Kingdom

Foreign Minister Winston Peters returns home today after a visit to the United Kingdom that followed his attendance at the CHOGM Foreign Ministers meeting in Malta.

“I was pleased that my first overseas bilateral visit as Foreign Minister, as distinct from my participation at APEC and CHOGM, was to the United Kingdom. The excellent discussions I had with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw confirmed that the relationship with the UK is not just about historical connections. New Zealand and UK responses to developments in recent years such as international terrorism and Afghanistan have shown how similar our approaches are and how well we work together,” Mr Peters said.

Mr Peters also met the UK Ministers responsible for the armed forces, pensions, and racing, visited the Department for International Development and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and met organisations and individuals involved in the people to people relationship at a reception at the New Zealand High Commission. As well as London Mr Peters visited Glasgow and Edinburgh.

“The devolution of powers to Scotland has meant that contact with the Scottish Executive and Parliament forms a part of our official relationship with the United Kingdom. I was well received by Ministers in the Scottish Executive.

I also saw at first hand the good work our new Honorary Consul in Edinburgh, former Lord Provost Eric Milligan, is doing in partnership with the High Commission in London to strengthen New Zealand’s already extensive business and people to people links with Scotland. While I was in Edinburgh the All Blacks’ successful conclusion to their grand slam tour gave a further boost to New Zealand’s image in Scotland,” said Mr Peters.

In London Mr Peters also participated in the regular New Zealand-EU ministerial level consultations. As the UK currently holds the EU Presidency, the EU side was led by Foreign Office Minister of State Ian Pearson, supported by Brussels-based European Commission officials.

“The outcomes of the Prime Minister’s visit to Brussels earlier this week and the Presidency consultations in London show that we are making good progress taking forward New Zealand’s relationship with the European Union. New Zealand’s trade and economic relations with the EU are extremely important, and we welcome the positive role the EU is playing in world affairs, including increasingly in Asia, and in the Pacific,” Mr Peters concluded.

ENDS

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