President Clinton Presence Strengthens Apec 99Prime Minister
"New Zealanders can be confident that APEC 99 will be well attended by world leaders, with confirmation from United States President Bill Clinton this week that he will be here," Prime Minister Jenny Shipley announced today.
"President Clinton has written to me confirming his acceptance of New Zealand's invitation to attend APEC, and to make a State Visit following the APEC Leaders meeting. I am delighted that he will do so, and I'm sure that New Zealanders will welcome him as leader of one of our major trading partners and leader of a nation with whom we share many things in common.
"President Clinton's planned state visit will be the first by a United States President since President Johnson visited New Zealand in the 1960s.
"It will strengthen relations between New Zealand and the United States, will lift our international profile and is good news for the success of our year as Chair of APEC.
"I look forward to hosting President Clinton and other international leaders next year and showing off some of the unique cultural, sporting and tourism experiences New Zealand has to offer," Mrs Shipley said.
The Prime Minister also announced that she will visit Canada and the United States from 13-15 January next year.
"Canada is a long-standing friend of New Zealand and I am delighted to be able to take up Prime Minister Chretien's invitation to visit. As fellow APEC Leaders I expect our discussions to focus on how APEC's work can help restore confidence and growth in the Asia Pacific region over the next year.
"Canada and New Zealand also work closely together within the Commonwealth, the United Nations and on international trade and environmental issues. I look forward to my discussions with Prime Minister Chretien and his Ministerial colleagues in our bilateral meetings.
"I have also accepted United States Vice President Al Gore's invitation to be a keynote speaker at a major international conference on the theme of Reinventing Government. Vice President Gore will chair the conference on 14-15 January and I look forward to sharing New Zealand's experience with an international audience and hearing their perspective," Mrs Shipley said.
The Prime Minister will also make a number of calls on senior members of the Clinton Administration and Congressional Leaders while in the US.
Further details of the programme will be announced in January.
"This visit and President Clinton's State visit are tremendous opportunities for New Zealand. They will put us on the world stage and allow the world to look through our window and see all that New Zealand has to offer. I intend to do the best for New Zealand and make the most of them," Mrs Shipley concluded.