10 Apr 2024

Winston Peters to meet Anthony Blinken and Trump official in Washington

12:34 pm on 10 April 2024
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters

Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will meet with the US Secretary of State and a senior official from the Trump administration in Washington DC as the United States prepares for its presidential election later this year.

Incumbent President Joe Biden, a Democrat, is running for re-election on 5 November and his predecessor, Republican Donald Trump, is running against him in a bid for a second non-consecutive term.

Winston Peters has been in New York attending the United Nations General Assembly where he delivered a speech to the Security Council, then met with both the UN president and secretary-general.

In those meetings New Zealand was asked to be part of the reform team that will look at the international body and its veto powers, which blocks decisions when any one country exercises its veto.

"They are very mindful that we are a country that has an awful lot of integrity and consistency on this issue because we've opposed the veto from the word go," Peters told RNZ.

"They were happy for us to remind them of that, they were very much aware of that, and in the reforms going forward because of our position, they want us to be seriously involved."

In his address to the General Assembly he accused the UN Security Council of failing to act decisively in response to the conflict in Gaza.

Peters also said the Security Council had failed in its responsibility to maintain international peace and security.

His speech, which described the situation in Gaza as an "utter catastrophe", followed remarks from representatives from Russia, China, Palestine and then Israel.

The Foreign Minister said he reiterated New Zealand's long-held position on the need for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

"Well we have been calling for it for a long time, I just had a chance to say it at the United Nations," he told RNZ.

While in New York, the minister witnessed the full solar eclipse on Tuesday and told RNZ the unity the spectacle created stood out the most.

For the first time in hundreds of years the phenomenon passed over huge swathes of North America.

Peters joined the masses on the street outside and said a country often seen as divided became united in that moment.

"There may be lessons for them in what happened yesterday, in that unity, because they were packing parks, and packing venues, all together, all in the street, and looking at a place other than themselves."

Having wrapped up meetings in New York, Peters is headed for the capital Washington D.C.

There he will meet with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, deputy Kurt Campbell, and senators Lindsey Graham and Chris Van Hollen.

With an election so close Peters has also scheduled a meeting with Steve Vaughn, a senior official in the Trump administration.