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Peters holds high level talks with EU in Austria

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

18 April 2006
Media Release

Peters holds high level talks with European Union in Austria

Foreign Minister Winston Peters held ministerial talks with the European Union Presidency in Vienna today.

"Following on from my talks with the EU Presidency in London last November, the talks today with Austrian Foreign Minister Plassnik and EU External Relations Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner confirmed there is real momentum in New Zealand's relations with the EU.

"We are building on our traditional trade and economic links, to encompass new areas such as education, science and technology and counter-terrorism," said Mr Peters.

"Development assistance is another important area of cooperation. We welcomed the commitment on the EU side to maintain its engagement in the Pacific, where New Zealand and the EU objectives are closely aligned.

"The EU values New Zealand perspectives on developments in East Asia. We also reviewed foreign policy issues such as the Middle East, on which New Zealand and EU approaches are broadly similar. Shared values and like-mindedness were evident throughout these talks."

While in Vienna Mr Peters undertook a programme of bilateral calls, including a meeting with Austrian President Heinz Fischer.

"Austria plays an important role in the European Union. As well, there is a similarity of outlook between New Zealand and Austria on many international issues, including the United Nations. As the Cold War era recedes in time Austria's international role is evolving, and there is scope to expand bilateral links in foreign policy, as well as the areas of trade and investment, tourism and people to people contacts," Mr Peters said.

Mr Peters travels tonight to Moscow for consultations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

ENDS

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