Foreign Affairs Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, will depart for Europe this weekend to represent New Zealand at the Indo-Pacific Forum in Paris.
The Minister will also undertake a bilateral visit to the United Kingdom, and participate in the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
“This trip is an important step in reconnecting New Zealand to the world, and an opportunity to present our values and interests to key partners as we move forward in a post-COVID world,” Ms Mahuta said.
In Paris, the Minister will participate in the Ministerial Forum for Co-operation in the Indo-Pacific, co-hosted by the European Union and France as the current President of the Council of the European Union. Foreign Ministers from all of the 27 European Union member states and a range of countries from the Indo-Pacific region have been invited to participate in the Forum.
Ms Mahuta will co-chair one of three Ministerial Roundtables at the Indo-Pacific Forum, discussing global issues, and focused on climate, biodiversity, health and oceans.
“The Indo-Pacific Forum in Paris will be an important opportunity to engage on key issues facing our region and to ensure that Aotearoa New Zealand’s voice and perspectives on issues affecting us and our Pacific partners are well registered,” she said.
“As well as discussing Indo-Pacific issues, this is an opportunity to meet with a number of ministerial counterparts attending the Forum and discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest. These include Russia-Ukraine tensions and key areas of cooperation, including our COVID recovery strategies and climate change.”
After the Indo-Pacific Forum, the Foreign Minister will visit London, where she is scheduled to meet with the UK’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Liz Truss.
“The United Kingdom and Aotearoa New Zealand enjoy a strong relationship built on warm people-to-people connections, deepening economic and geo-political links and, of course, a unique shared history based on mutual respect as embodied in Te Tiriti o Waitangi,” Ms Mahuta said.
“My meeting with Secretary Truss will provide a good opportunity for us to discuss opportunities to deepen ties with one of our closest partners.”
In Geneva, the Minister will meet with a range of leaders from key UN and multilateral organisations, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Director General of the World Health Organisation and the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
She will also represent Aotearoa New Zealand at the High-Level Segment of the UN Human Rights Council, the first time a Minister of Foreign Affairs from Aotearoa New Zealand has spoken at the Human Rights Council since its creation in 2006.
“I look forward to engaging at the Human Rights Council and, in particular, delivering Aotearoa New Zealand’s statement setting out our country’s human rights priorities on the opening day of the Council session.”
The Foreign Minister will be out of the country from 20 February – 2 March. Upon her return, she will enter into MIQ and complete the necessary COVID-19 requirements for returnees to Aotearoa New Zealand.