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Foreign Minister heading to Europe

13 April 2006

Foreign Minister heading to Europe

Foreign Minister Winston Peters leaves on 15 April for a two-week visit to Europe that will take him to Vienna, Moscow, St Petersburg, Kiev, London and Dublin.

Mr Peters is visiting Europe for six-monthly ministerial consultations with the European Union Presidency, currently held by Austria.

"The talks in Vienna, headed on the EU side by Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik, will build on the productive exchanges with the EU Presidency in London last November. These regular talks between New Zealand and the EU leadership provide an invaluable opportunity to share views on international issues and to develop what is increasingly a broad-based New Zealand/EU relationship", Mr Peters said.

Mr Peters will then travel to Moscow (April 19) for meetings with Russia’s Foreign Minister, Kiev (April 19-21) for meetings with Ukraine’s President Yushchenko and Acting Foreign Minister Tarasyuk, and St Petersburg (21-23 April).

The talks in Moscow and Kiev will cover bilateral relations with New Zealand, and regional and international foreign and security policy. While in St Petersburg Mr Peters will visit the Arctic and Antarctic Centre.

"I look forward to continuing the excellent discussion I had with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov when we met at APEC. There is considerable scope to expand New Zealand's relations with Russia. The visit to the Ukraine will be the first ever by a New Zealand Foreign Minister", Mr Peters said.

Mr Peters will then visit London (April 23-26) to represent the government at ANZAC Day commemorative activities, participate in a meeting of New Zealand's Heads of Mission based in Europe, and undertake bilateral calls. While in Dublin (April 26-28) he will meet the Irish Ministers responsible for Foreign Affairs and Racing.

ENDS

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