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Governor-General to visit Saudi Arabia

Governor-General to visit Saudi Arabia

The Governor-General, Lt Gen Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, is to visit Saudi Arabia to pay condolences to the Saudi Royal Family on the death of the Crown Prince.

At the request of the Government, the Governor-General departed for Riyadh last night (24 October 2011) to pay New Zealand’s respects on the death of HRH Sultan bin Abdul-aziz Al-Saud. Many Heads of State, world leaders and senior representatives from a range of countries will travel to Saudi Arabia to pay their respects at this time.

The funeral takes place today (25 October) and the condolences ceremony, to which visiting dignitaries are invited, is planned for tomorrow (26 October).

This is the first visit by a New Zealand Governor-General to Saudi Arabia since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1976.

HRH Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul-aziz Al-Saud died in New York on Saturday 22 October.**As the younger brother and heir-apparent to the King of Saudi Arabia, HM King Abdullah bin Abdul-aziz Al Saud, the Crown Prince was the First Deputy Prime Minister.He had previously served as Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence and Aviation.

On the return journey, as previously planned, Sir Jerry Mateparae will visit Melbourne to attend the Trans-Tasman netball final and the presentation of the Constellation Cup to the winning team with the Governor-General of Australia, HE Ms Quentin Bryce AC.

Sir Jerry Mateparae is accompanied by the Official Secretary Niels Holm, an Aide-de-Camp and an officer from the New Zealand Police.Lady Janine Mateparae will join Sir Jerry Mateparae for the visit to Australia.

While the Governor-General is overseas from 24 to 31 October, the Chief Justice, Rt Hon Dame Sian Elias, will act as the Administrator of the Government.In this role, Dame Sian will sign the Writ authorising the Electoral Commission to organise this year’s General Election.

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