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Peters to start European trip at Gallipoli

Friday 18 April 2008, 6:23PM

By Rt Hon Winston Peters

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Winston Peters lays a wreath at Cape Helles
Winston Peters lays a wreath at Cape Helles Credit: Rt Hon Winston Peters
Winston Peters at the French cemetery, Gallipoli
Winston Peters at the French cemetery, Gallipoli Credit: Rt Hon Winston Peters
Winston Peters addresses the International Service, Gallipoli
Winston Peters addresses the International Service, Gallipoli Credit: Rt Hon Winston Peters
Winston Peters at a Turkish cemetery, Gallipoli
Winston Peters at a Turkish cemetery, Gallipoli Credit: Rt Hon Winston Peters

Foreign Minister Winston Peters heads to Europe on Monday to represent the government at Gallipoli on Anzac Day, and to visit a number of countries.

After Gallipoli, Mr Peters goes to Ankara to meet Turkish leaders, before heading to Slovenia for consultations with the EU Presidency and calls on the government, and Croatia for a bilateral visit.

The Minister then travels to Rome to meet with the heads of New Zealand’s European-based missions, and London for bilateral calls and to attend a meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG).

“New Zealand and Turkey’s solid relationship is founded on our shared losses during the Gallipoli campaign 93 years ago,” Mr Peters said.

“The relationship is gaining momentum too. This year, for example, we have concluded arrangements for cooperation on education and on sanitary matters, and agreed to start negotiations on a double tax agreement and an air services agreement.

“Regular consultations with the EU help advance New Zealand’s bilateral interests in Europe through sharing information on issues of mutual interest. This visit will allow us reaffirm and advance our growing relationship with Slovenia, which is a small country with similar views to our own.”

“The visit to Croatia is a chance to establish more regular dialogue. Croatia has been invited to join NATO and is next in line for EU membership, so we will certainly have a much closer relationship in the future.

"Dalmatian migrants have given our countries' close, historical ties. They have made a significant contribution to New Zealand, having been at the forefront of our wine and horticulture industries.

"The principal items for discussion at the CMAG meeting are whether Pakistan should be readmitted to the Councils of Commonwealth, and Fiji. New Zealand will brief CMAG on the recent Forum Ministerial Meeting on Fiji in Auckland. We are likely to traverse recent events in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives,” Mr Peters said.