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New Zealand appoints first African Union ambassador

09-21-2011 14:08 BJT

WELLINGTON, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully announced Wednesday the country's first dedicated ambassador to the African Union and Ethiopia has.

Director of the Ministry's United Nations, Human Rights and Commonwealth Division James Kember is to take the post.

He has previously served ambassador to Vietnam, consul-general in Noumea and Hong Kong, up and high commissioner to Rarotonga.

"Appointing a dedicated ambassador to the African Union and Ethiopia demonstrates our clear intent to increase commercial and diplomatic engagement in a continent of growing economic and political importance," McCully said Wednesday.

"As ambassador, Dr Kember will play a significant role, contributing a New Zealand perspective on security, humanitarian and aid issues, and working to open doors to the African market for New Zealand exporters."

A new High Commissioner to Tuvalu was also announced Wednesday. Both posts will be based in Wellington.

"Accrediting non-resident ambassadors provides us with a flexible and cost-effective means of increasing our diplomatic activity," said McCully.

The high commissioner to Tuvalu will be Gareth Smith, who will return to Wellington from Canberra where he has been serving as First Secretary. He has worked in the ministry's Pacific Division and served in the New Zealand High Commission in Tonga as deputy high commissioner.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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