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On 24 February 2005, Jean Asselborn, current President of the Council of the European Union and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration, received the New Zealand Minister for Foreign Affairs, Phil Goff, for an EU-New Zealand Troika meeting at Senningen Castle in Luxembourg.
At a press conference at the end of their encounter, Jean Asselborn made the following statement:
“Let me first stress what a great pleasure it is to welcome Minister Goff in Luxembourg today to discuss relations between the EU and New Zealand, as well as a range of international developments.
We share the same views in many areas of international concern, such as the Middle East Peace Process, Afghanistan, the Korean Peninsula, the Pacific and the fight against terrorism. We also share a strong commitment and support for effective multilateralism and for the strengthening of multilateral organisations and instruments.
During our meeting today, we looked at ways to strengthen our co-operation even further, on the basis of an Action Plan on priorities for future co-operation. As you might know, the European Union and New Zealand have a high degree of co-operation in a number of fields like education, research, science and technology, and development aid.
We also discussed the challenges stemming from the Tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia. Both New Zealand and the EU have been among those actively providing assistance since the earliest days after the catastrophe. It is of the utmost importance that we keep up our efforts to ensure a continued smooth transition from humanitarian aid to reconstruction and development assistance.
My colleague from New Zealand kindly briefed us on the security situation in the Pacific, which we all found very helpful for our understanding of prevailing concerns in the region.
In Europe, we fully recognise that New Zealand is a crucial player in its region, and we very much appreciate New Zealand’s constructive engagement for promoting stability and sustainable development in the Pacific. Despite the distance that separates us, the EU and New Zealand have been able to successfully cooperate in promoting stability across the region. For example, the joint efforts of New Zealand and the Commission in the field of institution-building on the Solomon Islands have made a significant contribution to the restoration of law and order on the Solomons.
The European side also briefed Minister Goff on recent developments in the European Union : the enlargement process, as well as our relations with Ukraine and Russia. Evidently, I also informed the Minister of the spirit that reigns in Europe after the recent visit of President Bush to Brussels.
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