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Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta departed the Middle East today for Washington DC, concluding a successful visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar.
Her visit to the UAE saw her host New Zealand’s most important event at Expo 2020, Te Aratini, and meet with Emirati leaders including His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan..
“The UAE is one of New Zealand’s strongest relationships in the region and the UAE’s leadership in bringing the world together for Dubai Expo 2020 is testament to a strong, shared ambition to create a more sustainable future for all,” said Nanaia Mahuta.
“Sheikh Abdullah and I discussed opportunities to further grow our cooperation, particularly in the areas of food security and trade facilitation. I also thanked the UAE for its generous support of Aotearoa New Zealand’s Afghanistan evacuation operation in August and ongoing assistance,” said Nanaia Mahuta.
Te Aratini brought together over 50 local and international speakers and artists from United States, Canada, Panama, Paraguay and Malaysia, along with other cooperating countries.
“Te Aratini is more than just an event, it provided a unique platform for rich discussions drawing on indigenous perspectives to consider the benefits of culture, commerce, and wellbeing,” said Nanaia Mahuta.
While in the region, the Foreign Minister travelled to Doha to meet Qatar’s Minister of Foreign Affairs His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Her Excellency Lolwah R M Al-Khater and visited one of the Afghanistan Facilitated Departure Compounds where people coming out of Kabul stay before leaving for New Zealand. This provided the opportunity to thank the Qatar Government for its key role in supporting New Zealand’s Afghanistan response.
“Qatar has provided invaluable help to New Zealand citizens, permanent residents and visa holders leaving Afghanistan. Doha has been a vital lifeline as we have worked to bring these people out of Afghanistan and through to New Zealand and we are sincerely grateful,” said Nanaia Mahuta.
Since the New Zealand Defence Force evacuation flights ended in August, many more citizens and visa holders have been assisted to leave Afghanistan, bringing the total number of those safely brought to New Zealand since the Taliban takeover to over 630. A further 130 are due to arrive in the coming weeks, many of whom have been generously assisted by the Qatar Government in Doha before leaving for New Zealand.
Nanaia Mahuta will arrive in Washington DC today for a series of meetings including with Secretary of State Blinken, before departing for Ottawa, Canada on the 23 November.