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Cablegate: Media Play: New Nz Foreign Minister Places High

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS WELLINGTON 000811

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/PD-AGrimes, EAP/ANP-DRicci, EAP/P -
KBailes

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO NZ
SUBJECT: MEDIA PLAY: NEW NZ FOREIGN MINISTER PLACES HIGH
PRORITY ON REBUILDING US-NZ BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP

1. SUMMARY: For the second day in a row newly-appointed
Foreign Minister Winston Peters has publicly indicated that
he places high priority on "rebuilding New Zealand's
relationships with the United States." END SUMMARY

2. On the second day of the new Foreign Minister's term, the
front-page of the country's highest circulation daily ("New
Zealand Herald") carried an article entitled "Peters ready
to Build US Bridges." The article was written by the
newspaper's Assistant Editor, Fran O'Sullivan. Extracts
follow.

BEGIN TEXT:
"Foreign Minister Winston Peters says he is prepared to
tackle head-on the `big challenge' of rebuilding New
Zealand's relationships with the United States.

"His diplomatic skills will be put to the test early in the
New Year when he is expected to lead moves to open
discussions with the US about burying the 20-year-old
dispute over nuclear ships. Departing US Ambassador Charles
Swindells signaled in July that Washington wanted to move on
and establish a new security, economic and trade framework
to strengthen the relationship.

"Mr. Peters said he could not make any detailed comments
until he had been briefed by officials and consulted Prime
Minister Helen Clark.

"He may call on political colleagues such as former Trade
Ministers Mike Moore (Labour) and Philip Burdon (National)
to help push through his initiatives..

"The Foreign Minister also signaled he wanted to play a more
active role in the South Pacific, where New Zealand's
influence had been reduced since the region became a
`battleground' for Chinese and Taiwanese influence..

"He also indicated he had his views on filling the plum US
ambassadorship, which is up for grabs early next year. A
raft of high-profile names -- including Governor-General
Silvia Cartwright -- has been privately floated.

"But Mr. Peters emphasized the job should be filled by
someone with `diplomatic and trade skills,' saying that he
could be prepared to support the appointment of a high-
profile former politician who had the right credentials..
END TEXT

3. On day one of in his new position Winston Peters was
interviewed on Radio New Zealand's highly-influential
flagship program, "Morning Report." A partial transcript
follows.

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT:
INTERVIEWER: In terms of foreign policy do we need closer
relations with the United States? Do we need to go ahead
with the free trade agreement with China, which this
government appears committed to trying to get?

FOREIGN MINISTER PETERS: Well, I think with respect to every
country the closer your relationships with them, the better.
And obviously if we have differences with other countries,
we should try and sort them out and particularly when you
are talking about old friends. It is important that you keep
them, because in the case of the United States it is the
world's biggest economy, but in the case of China we are a
long way away from a free trade agreement. Right now I would
think dealing with the protocols by way of agreement are
important. But I come back to the point that that is in the
province, and it has been for a long time, of the Minister
of Trade, not the Minister of Foreign Affairs. TRANSCRIPT
ENDS.

Regards, Burnett

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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