At the invitation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand Murray McCully visited the Russian Federation on a working visit on 16-17 December 2009.
The Ministers conducted talks in an atmosphere of mutual understanding and friendship, characteristic of the Russia-New Zealand relationship, and discussed a wide range of bilateral and international issues.
Having noted that 2009 marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Russian Federation and New Zealand, Sergey Lavrov and Murray McCully expressed satisfaction with the positive nature of practical bilateral cooperation and the recent strengthening of political dialogue.
The ministers agreed to effectively exploit the potential of trade and economic, scientific and technical, cultural and educational cooperation in the interests of two countries. In particular, it was noted that the increasing exchanges of students and tourists were signs of the diversifying bilateral relationship.
The ministers emphasised the special importance of increasing trade and economic ties between Russia and New Zealand. Murray McCully stated that New Zealand fully supports Russia's accession to the WTO.
Russia and New Zealand underlined a shared commitment to strengthen Asia-Pacific regional integration and deepening cooperation in regional organisations, including APEC.
It was confirmed that Russia and New Zealand intended to continue the constructive cooperation in the area of Antarctic research within the framework of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty.
Sergey Lavrov and Murray McCully reviewed nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament issues in detail, and emphasised the importance of achieving positive results at the 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
There was a detailed discussion of other current international problems, including the situation in Afghanistan, prospects for addressing issues in the Middle East, Iran's nuclear programme and the nuclear problem of the Korean peninsula.
Murray McCully conveyed a request to Sergey Lavrov for Russia to support New Zealand's candidature for election to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member for 2015-2016. The Russian side stated that New Zealand's request would be given thorough attention with account of the traditionally friendly nature of the bilateral relationship.
The ministers expressed hope that positive results would be achieved at the 15th session of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change / 5th Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in Copenhagen.
Murray McCully extended an invitation to Sergey Lavrov to visit New Zealand. The invitation was accepted with appreciation.