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Peters To Visit Tonga, Samoa And Niue

Rt Hon Winston Peters - Minister of Foreign Affairs

7 March 2006

Peters To Visit Tonga, Samoa And Niue

Foreign Minister Rt Hon Winston Peters is to continue his focus on the Pacific with visits to Tonga, Samoa and Niue from 12-18 March.

This year Tonga will host the annual meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum. Mr Peters confirmed his intention to visit half of the Forum's 16 member countries by the middle of this year.

"The relationships with Tonga, Samoa, Niue, and other Pacific Island countries that share our neighbourhood are a special priority in New Zealand's foreign policy," said Mr Peters.

In Tonga, Mr Peters will discuss processes for economic and political change when he meets Acting Prime Minister Fred Sevele, other members of government and civil society groups. He is also likely to meet Crown Prince Tupouto'a.

In a short visit to Samoa, Mr Peters will meet Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and other political leaders.

Mr Peters will also travel to Niue, devastated by a cyclone in January 2004, where he will hold talks with Premier Young Vivian and take part in the Ministerial Joint Consultative Group which will review reconstruction efforts.

Mr Peters will be visiting NZAID projects in all three countries.

"The development assistance provided to these three countries is an important element in our relationships.

"I will be discussing NZAID programmes, and see initiatives in schools and hospitals, as well as water supply projects".

ENDS

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