• Don McKinnon
Foreign Affairs and Trade

President Clinton's nominations for Secretary of State and Defence Secretary are most welcome, caretaker Foreign Minister Don McKinnon said today.

"We have worked closely with Madeleine Albright in her current post as UN Ambassador to the United Nations over the past few years. I have had a number of meetings with her, especially when New Zealand was on the Security Council, and I am confident that her appointment will serve to strengthen the relationship between the United States and New Zealand. She brings to the job immense qualities both from her time as Ambassador as well as from her prestigious academic career."

"At the same time, I pay tribute to Warren Christopher, with whom the Prime Minister and I have enjoyed and valued many useful discussions over the past four years."

Mr McKinnon also welcomed the nomination of Senator William Cohen as Secretary of Defense. "I first met Senator Cohen more than ten years ago. He has been in the US Senate as long as I have been an MP; and will bring to the post of Defense Secretary a vast experience on defence issues from his membership of the Senate Armed Services Committee. We look forward to working closely with Senator Cohen in his new post."

"I also congratulate Tony Lake on his nomination to the CIA. In his present position as Director of the National Security Council, I have had a number of meetings with him. The advice he gave us while we were on the Security Council, and subsequently, has been of great value", Mr McKinnon added.

"It is clear that President Clinton is building a strong national security team for his second term. It's important that the New Zealand Government can work with that team; and these nominations are excellent news for New Zealand", Mr McKinnon concluded.