UK ministers welcomed by McCully and Mapp

( Foreign Minister Murray McCully and Defence Minister Wayne Mapp will welcome UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox for bilateral talks next week.

The two-day visit will be the first to New Zealand by Foreign Secretary Hague and Defence Secretary Fox, who will be accompanied by UK Chief of Defence Staff General Sir David Richards.

“New Zealand shares a very close relationship with the United Kingdom and we have strong historical ties. This visit highlights the strength and maturity of our relationship,” Mr McCully said.

“The UK and New Zealand have close historical security ties and share a similar view about many current international security challenges. The visit by Defence Secretary Fox will provide an opportunity for us to review our co-operation,” Dr Mapp said.

“The Asia-Pacific region is developing rapidly and this visit indicates Britain’s increased interest in the region.”

The Ministers are due to arrive in Auckland on Thursday 20 January and will take part in a wreathlaying ceremony at the Auckland War Memorial before a formal reception hosted by Mr McCully.

Prime Minister John Key will host a dinner for the Ministers and General Richards during the visit.

The programme will also include a business event hosted by the British High Commissioner and joint bilateral talks.

“We will be discussing political, economic and security issues where we have common interests,” Mr McCully said.

“The relationship that New Zealand has with the UK is one of our oldest and closest. I am looking forward to discussing areas where our countries can do more together.”

Media Release from Foreign Minister Murray McCully and Defence Minister Wayne Mapp on 14 January, 2011