21 Nov 2021

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta heading to the US after visiting Middle East

6:08 pm on 21 November 2021

The Foreign Affairs Minister is heading for Washington DC for meetings with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken after visiting Expo 2020 in Dubai.

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Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has met with her counterparts in Qatar and the UAE and thanked them for their countries' assistance with New Zealand's Afghanistan response. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Nanaia Mahuta's trip to the United Arab Emirates saw her host New Zealand's most important event at the expo, Te Aratini, and meet with Emirati leaders including His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Aotearoa New Zealand led Te Aratini, a world-first event to support the resurgence of Indigenous and tribal economies. It brought together over 50 local and international speakers and artists from United States, Canada, Panama, Paraguay and Malaysia, along with other co-operating countries.

Mahuta said the expo was testament to a strong, shared ambition to create a more sustainable future and that Te Aratini provided a unique platform for "rich discussions drawing on indigenous perspectives to consider the benefits of culture, commerce, and well-being".

She discussed opportunities for further cooperation in food security and trade with her UAE counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and thanked the country for helping New Zealand during the evacuation of Afghanistan in August, she said.

Elsewhere in the region, Mahuta visited one of the compounds in Doha that temporarily accommodate Afghan refugees due to be resettled in New Zealand and other countries, and similarly thanked Qatar 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," she said.

While in Doha, Mahuta also met with Qatar's Minister of Foreign Affairs His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani and Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Her Excellency Lolwah R M Al-Khater.

In Washington DC, Mahuta will hold a series of meetings with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken before travelling on to Ottawa, Canada on 23 November.

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