New Zealand Embassy Berlin, Germany

Minister of Foreign Affairs in Berlin

Photo: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon Murray McCully visited Berlin on 13-15 April 2011. The focus of his visit was the NATO/ISAF Foreign Ministers’ meeting on 14-15, hosted by Germany at the Federal Foreign Office.

As a contributing country to ISAF (the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan), New Zealand is playing an important part in helping to bring security and stability to Afghanistan. New Zealand’s efforts are focussed in the central province of Bamyan, which was recently named as one of the seven areas ready to begin the formal process of transition to Afghan leadership on security, governance and development.

In the margins of the NATO/ISAF meeting the Minister held bilateral talks with a number of his counterparts, including the Foreign Ministers of Spain, France, Denmark and Hungary, as well as the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton. The Minister also had more informal “pull-aside” meetings with German Foreign Minister Westerwelle, Australian Foreign Minister Rudd, and a range of other participants. Afghanistan was high on the agenda, but the meetings were also an opportunity to discuss other issues of mutual interest such as New Zealand’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for 2015-2016.

While in Berlin Mr McCully also met with German Development Minister Dirk Niebel (pictured). The two ministers exchanged views on the situation in Afghanistan, as well as the Pacific and development policy more generally. Mr McCully, who also has ministerial responsibility for sport, extended an invitation to Mr Niebel to attend the 2011 Rugby World Cup, taking place in New Zealand from 9 September to 23 October. Mr Niebel comes from a leading German rugby family, and is patron of the German Rugby Union.

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