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Peters heads to UN General Assembly, Europe

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs


18 September 2006
Media statement

Peters heads to UN General Assembly, Europe

Foreign Minister Winston Peters leaves for New York tomorrow evening, to attend the annual United Nations General Assembly.

He then travels to Finland for the latest round of six-monthly consultations with the European Union presidency, currently held by Finland. He will also visit Estonia before returning home on 30 September.

Mr Peters will attend the opening of the 61st UN General Assembly, and will deliver New Zealand’s statement on Friday (early Saturday morning NZT).

“The statement is based on the theme of 'multilateralism that delivers'. It highlights New Zealand’s focus on poverty eradication in the Pacific, where we work with regional partners as well as the UN and other multilateral development agencies," Mr Peters said.

“The statement will also reflect New Zealand’s desire for the UN to be used as a tool for peace and progress in the Middle East, Darfur and Timor-Leste, and our support for the continued pursuit of a selective and realistic reform agenda over the coming year."

While at the UN, Mr Peters will sign New Zealand’s accession to the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, and sign the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel.

“New Zealand was at the forefront of creating the Convention on the Safety of UN Personnel in 1994. The Optional Protocol, proposed by New Zealand in 2003, extends coverage to a wider range of personnel. This achievement has been widely attributed to New Zealand’s efforts,” Mr Peters said.

The key focus of the European Union talks will be the review of the New Zealand/EU action plan. The plan, signed in 2004, set out a range of activities designed to strengthen the relationship.

"New Zealand's relationship with the EU has continued to grow, particularly in areas beyond the traditional trade and economic focus, such as security, counter-terrorism and human rights; through education and professional exchanges; and in the areas of science, technology and innovation.

"Because of this broad growth, we will be discussing how the action plan should best be revised, with a view to concluding the process at the next presidency consultations, with Germany early next year," Mr Peters said.

During the bilateral part of his visit to Finland, Mr Peters will meet Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee Liisa Jaakonsaari, and President Tarja Halonen. The highlight of a short visit to Estonia will be the signing of a working holiday scheme.

ENDS

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