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New Zealand foreign minister hopes for Customs Union-Wellington free trade zone deal

November 05, 2013, 12:16 UTC+3

Opening the talks on Tuesday in Moscow, McCully said his visit to Russia repaid Lavrov’s trip to New Zealand in 2012.

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AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

MOSCOW, November 5 (Itar-Tass) - New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully said he hoped that the talks with his Russian counterpart would focus on signing a free trade zone agreement between the Customs Union and Wellington.

Opening the talks on Tuesday, McCully said his visit to Russia repaid Lavrov’s trip to New Zealand in 2012.

Both countries are holding regular talks on international and regional affairs. Business-like contacts continue to develop, the New Zealand minister said.

Lavrov said the visit was being held when relations between both countries gained momentum.

“We maintain an intensive political dialogue, including at a high level. Our leaders meet regularly on the sidelines of international forums. We’re planning new contacts,” the Russian minister said.

He added that the countries developed close contacts at the ministerial level.

“New Zealand companies successfully work on the Russian market,” Lavrov said, adding that the countries developed humanitarian relations.

He said Russia hoped to discuss cooperation within the U.N. and other global issues.

Talks between the Customs Union (Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) and New Zealand are moving forward, Lavrov noted, highlighting that “a free trade agreement between the Customs Union and New Zealnd can give an impetus to intensifying trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.”

“We agreed to discuss additional steps to speed up the process,” the Russian minister said.

Russia and New Zealand agree to develop cooperation in different fields, he said, adding, “The distance is not on hindrance.”

McCully said New Zealand sought to sign a free trade agreement with the Customs Union.

This opportunity was in the focus of the talks with the Russian minister, he said, adding that New Zealand and Russia had discussed measures to strengthen bilateral relations.

Trade turnover is small, McCully said, adding that New Zealand sought to change the tendency.

This year both countries mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, he said.

This is the landmark event, the New Zealand minister said, adding that the two countries would continue development trade and economic cooperation, as well as interaction in education, sport, culture and tourism.

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