Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta, departs for Europe today where she will attend a session of the NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting in Brussels and make a brief bilateral visit to Sweden.
“NATO is a long-standing and likeminded partner for Aotearoa New Zealand. It is valuable to join a session of this meeting in person, to express our ongoing condemnation of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine one year on, and as NATO and New Zealand work to renew our formal partnership this year,” Minister Mahuta said.
The invitation to a session of this Meeting comes after former Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern attended the NATO Summit in Madrid last year – a first for a New Zealand leader.
NATO and New Zealand have been engaged in dialogue and cooperation for over 25 years. This has included New Zealand support for NATO-led efforts in Afghanistan between 2001-2021.
“It is important that we continue to engage with our close partners to address shared security challenges, many of which are global in nature with wide-ranging implications, including in the Pacific,” Ms Mahuta said.
“The visit will also provide the opportunity to hold bilateral calls with a number of my counterparts from the NATO allies and our other close partners.”
Following two days in Brussels, Nanaia Mahuta will spend two days in Stockholm, where she will meet with Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström.
“Sweden is the current president of the EU, and one of New Zealand’s closest European partners whose strong support helped enable the successful negotiation of the NZ-EU Free trade agreement,” she said.
While in Stockholm, the Minister will also engage with Sámi representatives, including the President of the Swedish Sámi Parliament Plenary Assembly, Daniel Holst Vinka.
“As indigenous peoples, Māori and Sámi share many interests and already work together on a number of challenges on the international stage. This is an opportunity to deepen these connections,” Ms Mahuta said.