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Peters to encourage European links with Pacific

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

23 June 2006
Media statement

Peters to encourage European links with Pacific

Foreign Minister Winston Peters says expressing appreciation for European engagement in the Pacific will be a key aim of his two-week, five-country visit to Europe, starting on Sunday.

The visit will include bilateral meetings with European Union members France, Hungary, Germany and Poland, as well as the EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, and a visit to Switzerland.

“The attention the EU pays to the Pacific, both political and developmental, is highly valued by New Zealand,” Mr Peters said.

“I welcomed the EU Commission’s recent Strategy for a Strengthened Partnership with the Pacific as evidence of its continued commitment to region, and view the EU as a like-minded development partner.

“I will be encouraging all four EU member states I visit to remain engaged in the Pacific by contributing to the EU’s work in the region.”

While in Paris, Mr Peters will meet the French Foreign Minister and Minister of Cooperation and Development; address a New Zealand studies conference; take part in marking the 90th anniversary of the battle of the Somme; attend the France-Oceania Summit, and meet with the leaders of the French Pacific territories of New Caledonia, French Polynesia, and Wallis and Futuna.

In Germany, Mr Peters will call on the Vice-Chancellor, the Foreign Minister, a range of key parliamentarians, and the mayor of Berlin.

“Germany is one of New Zealand’s key EU relationships. It is an important member and New Zealand’s eighth-largest market for goods exports.

“We are developing a strong trade and economic links and a well-rounded relationship encompassing political, social, cultural and academic ties.”

In Switzerland, Mr Peters will seek a non-EU perspective on Europe and discuss a range of bilateral and multilateral issues, including the environment, disarmament, UN reform and human rights.

Mr Peters will also visit Hungary and Poland, which both have new governments, to continue New Zealand’s engagement with countries that entered the EU when it enlarged in 2004.

The France-Oceania Summit, hosted by President Chirac on June 26, brings together leaders and ministers from 19 Pacific countries and territories.

“The objectives of New Zealand and France in the Pacific are more closely aligned now than ever,” Mr Peters said.

“New Zealand values France's ongoing high level of engagement in the region and its role in maintaining an EU focus on the region. We view France as a dependable partner in the promotion of good governance, economic development and sustainable environmental practices in the Pacific.”

ENDS

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