The establishment of a diplomatic presence in Barbados by the Government of New Zealand is a strong signal of the friendship between the two countries and the intent to enhance relations.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, made this statement last evening, while addressing persons at the opening ceremony of the High Commission of New Zealand to Barbados at the Embassy???s Collymore Rock, St. Michael location.

Pointing out that the two countries had enjoyed cordial relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1974, the Minister said their relationship remained consistent and engaging.

???On the bilateral level, the Barbados-New Zealand relationship has been strengthened by, among other things, technical cooperation and collaboration in education, sports and disaster risk management. In addition, we are encouraged at the potential for cooperation in other areas such as security, renewable energy, oceans and fisheries and people exchanges.

???In addition, due to its close relationship with the Pacific Islands, New Zealand has a special understanding of the challenges facing small island developing states (SIDS). Barbados and the Caribbean Community therefore consider New Zealand to be a valuable interlocutor on issues affecting small states,??? she stated.

Senator McClean also expressed gratitude to that country for the work it does in international fora to bring attention to issues which affect SIDS.

???New Zealand also shares the concerns of small states in the Caribbean with regard to small arms and transshipment of nuclear waste. For these reasons we are grateful for the support New Zealand gives in international fora, in urging that the special needs of small island developing states be given particular consideration,??? she remarked.

The Minister added that Barbados welcomed an offer of assistance from the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, in the areas of skills development, renewable energy, agriculture and disaster risk management.??The New Zealand Embassy is located in the building that houses the British High Commission, and will serve Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

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