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US Secretary of State to visit New Zealand

Wednesday 16 July 2008, 7:07PM

By Rt Hon Winston Peters

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United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is to visit New Zealand in late July, Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today.

Secretary Rice will arrive late on Friday, 25 July, and will meet with Mr Peters and Prime Minister Helen Clark in Auckland the following day.

"Secretary Rice’s visit marks and reinforces the excellent state of relations between New Zealand and the United States," Mr Peters said.

"Both governments have agreed at the highest level to focus efforts on where we can do more together to mutual benefit. As a result, the relationship has strengthened further in recent years.

"New Zealand and the US work closely together on a range of regional and global issues, including Afghanistan, and the denuclearisation of North Korea.

"We also hold similar views on issues relating to good governance and human rights, as demonstrated by our concern over recent developments in Fiji, Zimbabwe and Myanmar."

On Sunday, 27 July, Secretary Rice and Mr Peters will travel to Samoa together to meet with Pacific Forum Foreign Ministers.

"I am delighted Dr Rice was able to accept my suggestion of a short stop in the Pacific during this trip. Her time in Samoa will provide an excellent opportunity to hold talks with Pacific Ministers on their home turf," Mr Peters said.

The last dedicated bilateral visit to New Zealand by a US Secretary of State was by then Secretary Madeleine Albright in 1998.