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Don't back off Stockholm Embassy, say Greens

9 December 2008
Don't back off Stockholm Embassy, say Greens

Green MP Keith Locke is asking Foreign Minister Murray McCully to proceed with plans for a new embassy in Stockholm.

"We certainly need an embassy there now we are working in tandem with Scandinavian countries on so many world issues," says Mr Locke, the Party's Foreign Affairs Spokesperson.

"Just last week New Zealand diplomats were in Oslo to sign a convention banning cluster bombs. New Zealand and Norway were key drivers of the convention, as they were on an earlier convention banning landmines. The two countries also work closely together on human rights issues in UN agencies.

"Norway is also a world leader in peacemaking diplomacy, in places like Sri Lanka, the Sudan and Palestine. This is an area where New Zealand can learn from Norway.

"Having an embassy in Stockholm would also strengthen our work with Sweden on disarmament issues. We already work together in the seven-nation nuclear disarmament spearhead group, New Agenda.

"Sweden is also providing a lead in Europe on climate change issues, with a target of 49 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

"Postponing setting up an embassy in Stockholm would not save much, but it would have a big downside in terms of New Zealand's ability to work effectively on vital global issues."


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