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Peters names first resident Ambassador to Egypt

Rt Hon Winston Peters - Minister of Foreign Affairs

17 March 2006

Peters names first resident Ambassador to Egypt

New Zealand’s first resident Ambassador to Egypt will be career diplomat Rene Wilson, Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. Work is under way to establish a New Zealand Embassy in Cairo, which will open later this year.

“The establishment of the New Zealand Embassy in Cairo signals an important development in our bilateral relationship,” said Mr Peters. Previously, New Zealand's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia has been accredited to Egypt.

“I am delighted that Mr Wilson will be at the helm as New Zealand continues to build its already close relationship with such an influential player in the region. Egypt exerts a significant and moderating influence throughout the Middle East and beyond,” said Mr Peters.

“The embassy in Cairo will help protect and expand New Zealand's interests in a large and challenging market. Egypt is our third largest Middle East market, taking exports of around $100 million annually. The benefits of the Cairo post will also extend throughout the Middle East. It will support the important dairy trade New Zealand has with Iraq, one of our largest whole milk powder markets in the region.”

New Zealand and Egypt work closely together on nuclear disarmament issues in the New Agenda Coalition, and in multilateral organisations such as the World Trade Organisation. New Zealand has also participated in the Sinai Multinational Force and Observers, which monitors the border between Egypt and Israel, since its establishment in 1982.

Mr Wilson joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1975 and is currently the Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Auckland Office. He has previously served as New Zealand’s High Commissioner in Pretoria and in New Zealand’s Embassies in Bangkok, Jakarta and Tokyo.

ENDS

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