Thursday, May 30, 2024

Foreign Affairs Minister concludes European talks

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has concluded a “productive and successful” visit to Europe, which included programmes in Paris, London and Geneva.

“This visit allowed me to take a further step in reconnecting New Zealand to the world, and to develop relationships with my Ministerial counterparts and leaders of key international organisations in person,” Ms Mahuta said.

“The Pacific region is confronting several challenges related to the global pandemic, climate change and increasing geo-political challenges in the broader Indo-Pacific. Travelling to Europe enabled me to represent and promote New Zealand’s priorities and interests in this area and as the situation in the Ukraine unfolded, it was crucial to strongly condemn Russia’s actions and focus on upholding human rights.”

While in London, the Minister met with her UK counterpart, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (pictured) where they took part in discussions exploring opportunities for enhanced cooperation following the recent conclusion of a high‑quality, comprehensive Free Trade Agreement. 

“Aotearoa New Zealand and the United Kingdom share a special and strong relationship, and Secretary Truss and I agreed to redouble our efforts to promote an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific, advance free trade and support our Pacific partners,” Minister Mahuta said.

“This was a good opportunity to not only meet Secretary Truss face-to-face, but to also have a constructive and timely discussion on unified support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The final stop in Geneva saw Minister Mahuta attend and address the United Nations Human Rights Council ‑ the first time a New Zealand Foreign Minister has addressed the High Level Segment since the Council’s establishment in 2006.

“Aotearoa New Zealand is deeply committed to progressing universal human rights and protecting the dignity and mana of all people. Upholding our collective responsibility to do so is more-timely than ever as New Zealand stands with Ukraine against Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion,” Ms Mahuta said. 

“I was pleased to be able to deliver our national statement to the Human Rights Council, reiterate the important role that multilateralism and diplomacy has and continue the call for aggression against Ukraine to stop.

“As we also continue to see deteriorating human rights situations in many other countries due to conflict, the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, and the challenge of climate change – it was vital to remember what can be achieved when we all work together in partnership.”

During the four-day programme in Geneva, Nanaia Mahuta engaged with:

  • UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet
  • Director General of the World Health Organisation Dr Tedros Adhanon Ghebreyesus
  • President of Human Rights Council Federico Villegas
  • President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer
  • UN High Commissioner for Refugees Fillipo Grandi
  • Argentine Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship Santiago Cafiero
  • Timor-Leste Minister Adaljiza Albertina Xavier Reis Magno
  • Commonwealth Secretary-General Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC.

The Minister and her delegation return to New Zealand today and will enter an MIQ facility to complete the required managed isolation period.

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