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Visit to Vanuatu reinforces links with NZ

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs


8 June 2006
Media statement

Visit to Vanuatu reinforces links with NZ

New aid initiatives, meetings with key political leaders, and the opening of new premises for New Zealand's High Commission were features of a busy three-day visit to Vanuatu by Foreign Minister Winston Peters.
Mr Peters was leading a 60-strong delegation of MPs, business representatives, NGOs and officials, which continues on to the Cook Islands tonight for a further three days.

“Since becoming Foreign Minister, a particular priority for me has been enhancing New Zealand's relationship with our Pacific neighbours. I was especially pleased to be able to lead such a strong delegation to Vanuatu, to help reinforce relationships between us.

"The visit strengthened political, economic and social linkages between New Zealand and Vanuatu. It also reaffirmed New Zealand’s long-term commitment to Vanuatu as a core partner of our international development assistance programme."

The delegation took part in the opening of the new TB Ward at Port Vila Hospital, funded by Rotary and NZAID, and the opening of the Women’s Craft Market House. They met with several of Vanuatu’s leaders, including President Kalkot Mataskelekele, Prime Minister Ham Lini, Acting Foreign Minister George Wells, and Education Minister Joe Natuman.

The programme also included visits to the local campus of the University of the South Pacific, Melemaat School, the Wan Smolbag Theatre Group, and a meeting with the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce Institute.

Mr Peters said the visit helped the delegation experience and understand life in Vanuatu and explore how the two countries may cooperate better.


ENDS

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