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Progress on NZ/Russia relations from Moscow visit

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

19 April 2006
Media Release

Progress on NZ/Russia relations from Moscow visit

Foreign Minister Winston Peters has hailed the outcome of his talks in Moscow today as indicating willingness by both New Zealand and Russia to give impetus to the bilateral relationship, and co-operate more closely on Asia-Pacific regional, and international issues.

“We were warmly received by my Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. We continued the excellent dialogue initiated at our meeting at APEC last year. Mr Lavrov provided a candid assessment of the state of play on international issues in which Russia is closely involved, such as Iran, the Korea Peninsula, and the Middle East.

“In light of the response to the current disturbances in the Solomon Islands, Mr Lavrov commended New Zealand’s engagement in addressing security and development challenges in the Pacific. He is well aware from his time as Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations of New Zealand’s commitment to multilateralism, and expressed appreciation for New Zealand’s substantial contributions to international efforts in parts of the world distant from New Zealand’s immediate neighbourhood, such as Afghanistan, and Russia, where New Zealand is supporting the G8 programme to destroy stocks of chemical weapons,” Mr Peters said.

Following on from visits to Pacific island countries in the first part of this year, the visit to Russia is one of the first dedicated bilateral visits Mr Peters has undertaken since his appointment as Foreign Minister.

“We need to acknowledge Russia’s continuing importance in world affairs. It was clear from the discussions today that there is interest on both sides in building up bilateral links, including consultation on foreign policy, and looking at ways of simplifying travel arrangements between New Zealand and Russia, to boost business and people to people contacts”, Mr Peters said.

Mr Peters travels on from Moscow to Kyiv, where he will make the first visit by a New Zealand Foreign Minister to Ukraine.

ENDS

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