Prime Minister Bill English has welcomed the visit to New Zealand this week of the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, Dr Rui Araújo.

“New Zealand and Timor-Leste have a special bond,” says Mr English, who will meet Dr Araújo in Auckland tomorrow.

“New Zealand has supported Timor-Leste since its decision to seek independence in 1999. More than 4000 New Zealand Defence Force, Police and other personnel have served there in the past 18 years.”

“The relationship with New Zealand is now evolving as Timor-Leste’s economy and society grow and develop.

“I’m looking forward to talking to Dr Araújo about how we can best build connections in trade and business, development and also international relations.”

During his visit, Prime Minister Araújo will also visit the New Zealand Police Training College and be welcomed by Otago University, where he studied in the late 1990s.

Prime Minister Araújo will be accompanied by his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hernâni Coelho, and Minister of the Interior, Longuinhos Monteiro.

Minister Coelho will meet with Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully, while Minister Monteiro will hold talks with senior representatives of New Zealand Police on New Zealand’s longstanding community policing support to Timor-Leste.

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