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New Zealand puts FTA with Russia on hold over Ukraine crisis Print E-mail

March 03, 2014 Source: ONE News New Zealand has put a free trade deal with Russia on hold over its deployment of troops to Ukraine.

Prime Minister John Key has told Trade Minister Tim Groser to leave Moscow tonight, saying Russia has infringed the sovereignty of Ukraine and that is unacceptable.

Following Russia's capture of the Crimean Peninsula, Ukraine says it is "on the brink of disaster" and has put its military on high alert.

The Government has been negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus for the last three years and Mr Groser has reported making good progress on it in Moscow over the last few days, Mr Key says.

"Obviously in light of the developments in the Ukraine over the last few days, I can't rule out that there may be some impact on the timetable for concluding the FTA," he says.

"While a delay would be disappointing, we take our international responsibilities seriously and intend to respond in a manner that is in line with the countries who share our values and perspectives."

Mr Key was at one stage hoping to go to Moscow to sign a FTA after his upcoming trip to China in two weeks.

But he says continuing to discuss an FTA with Russia in the present circumstances would not be appropriate.

Ambassador summoned

The Russian Ambassador was called in to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Wellington this afternoon and told of New Zealand's concerns.


"We have made clear that we see Russia's actions in Ukraine to be unacceptable. And we have called on all parties to act responsibly and move forward on the basis of dialogue and diplomacy rather than the threat of force," Mr Key says.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says New Zealand is deeply alarmed at the escalation of tensions in Ukraine over recent days "and we condemn the breach of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity".

Labour support

Labour's Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says any further escalation of the situation in Ukraine could ultimately threaten the peace and security of Europe.

"Given the seriousness of the situation we support the withdrawal of Tim Groser from negotiations over the free trade agreement with Russia," Mr Shearer says.

"Ukraine's territorial integrity must be preserved and any foreign forces should leave the country immediately.

"The prospect of a divided Ukraine is likely to lead to conflict and could have disastrous knock-on effects across Eastern Europe.

 

Russia - New Zealand Video

     Interview of New Zealand Prime Minister John Key by the leading Russian journalist Sergey Brilev, Vesti http://www.vesti.ru/only_video.html?vid=443882

Russia - New Zealand Quotes

There are the Russians, who are the Antipodes to all other nations, born, it would seem, into a different perspective or proportion, often overtaken by disaster owing to ignorance or vastness, but wrongly blamed for never having been happy.Sacheverell Sitwell, 1941
Жуткая трагедия в Южных морях! Три миллиона людей заживо попали в ловушку.Томас Скотт, 1979

Prior Group Market Reports

Russia - New Zealand History

We are having long lambskin coats made with outer surface of Gabardine. A good warm cloth overcoat is also recommended by Australian Legation which advises in addition, furlined coat. We have not examined cost of latter but have been informed by a local resident previously living in Russia that they are “de rigueur” for official classes, sheepskin coats being associated with peasantry…Fur caps and furlined gloves are recommended. Top hats are not being taken.
What a country in which the occurrence of queues outside shops is a sign of improving conditions.
It is the most wonderful springtime, the tenderest green on the trees. As always in Moscow, the spring is so fresh, it seems to be happening for the first time.
The Russian language is like a sack pulled over the head of the wretched foreigner. Those like Ruth Macky and me, who have cut an eyehole or two in the sack, have to lead by the hand those who are still living in the darkness. Curious, but the one who shows most promise of all the beginners is Mrs Boswell. For myself I reckon I’ll know Russian well in ten years’ time. It really is a monster of a tongue. Paddy Costello, New Zealand diplomat and linguist, Moscow, 1944

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