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Peters welcomes Sevele's appointment

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

31 March 2006

Peters welcomes Sevele's appointment

Foreign Minister Winston Peters has welcomed Dr Fred Sevele’s formal appointment as Prime Minister of Tonga, saying it is a positive step towards reform.

The King of Tonga, His Majesty Taufa’ahau Tupou IV, confirmed Mr Sevele’s appointment yesterday afternoon.

“As a commoner, an elected People’s Representative and an active pro-democracy campaigner, Mr Sevele is ideally placed to manage the country’s process of political evolution,” Mr Peters said.

“The confirmation of his appointment is a significant step towards democratic reform in Tonga."

The previous Prime Minister, HRH Prince Lavaka Ata, resigned on 11 February. Mr Sevele was appointed Acting Prime Minister in the interim.

Mr Peters met Mr Sevele during an official visit to Tonga on 13-14 March and said he had very useful talks with him and looked forward to working with him in the future.

“New Zealand follows Tonga’s democratic and economic reform process with interest.

“As a close friend of Tonga, New Zealand is keen to assist with the democratic reform process. The process of political evolution, however, must be driven and led from within Tonga," Mr Peters said.

Mr Sevele’s appointment will contribute positively to this process, Mr Peters said.

ENDS

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