Press Release – New Zealand Government
At the invitation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Murray McCully, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, HE Didier Burkhalter, visited Auckland, New Zealand, on 25 October 2013. This was Mr Burkhalters first visit to New Zealand, and the …
Hon Murray McCully
Minister of Foreign Affairs
25 October 2013
Joint Statement on Bilateral Relations and Cooperation
At the invitation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Murray McCully, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, HE Didier Burkhalter, visited Auckland, New Zealand, on 25 October 2013. This was Mr Burkhalter’s first visit to New Zealand, and the first by a Foreign Minister from Switzerland.
Noting that this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, the Ministers reaffirmed the historical links between New Zealand and Switzerland and the excellent state of bilateral relations. They also underlined the desire by both sides to further expand the bilateral relationship, reflecting the many areas of mutual interest shared by New Zealand and Switzerland. Both Ministers noted the potential to develop bilateral trade and investment opportunities and linkages in areas of mutual interest.
The Ministers reaffirmed the two countries’ close cooperation in multilateral institutions, reinforced by our respective roles as champions of innovation and mediation. They underlined our shared commitment to robust multilateral institutions as a means of strengthening international security and prosperity and for promoting peace, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Discussion traversed the many multilateral issues on which we collaborate closely, including the environment, climate change, UN Security Council reform, disarmament and non-proliferation. The Ministers also shared perspectives on multilateral candidatures.
During their meeting Mr McCully advised Mr Burkhalter of New Zealand support for an important Swiss and ICRC initiative, the Montreux Document on Pertinent International Legal Obligations and Good Practices for States related to Operations of Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) during Armed Conflict. This initiative aims to promote respect for international humanitarian law and human rights law whenever PMSCs are present in an armed conflict. Further, it seeks to provide guidance on different legal and practical points raised by the activities of PMSCs. New Zealand acknowledges the Montreux Document as an effective means of assisting States to implement their international legal obligations in respect of PMSCs and looks forward to further engaging with Switzerland on this matter.
With a view to enhancing the efficient use and management of resources and to secure adequate services for their citizens abroad, the Ministers agreed to explore opportunities for practical cooperation and consultation between their respective Foreign Ministries on areas of mutual interest. Possible areas that might be considered for future collaboration or sharing of expertise include: personnel policy or exchanges, information technology, reciprocal assistance on consular matters, and the sharing of resources to support each other’s diplomatic networks.
The Ministers also traversed a wide range of regional and international issues, including developments in the Pacific and the Eurozone, forthcoming regional meetings such as the ASEM meeting in New Delhi and the Small Island Developing States meeting in Samoa. There was a discussion on regional security issues, including developments in the South China Sea and the Middle East, and the outlook for Afghanistan and its neighbourhood beyond 2014.