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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

To see the video report prepared with assistance of Prior Group on WW2 ties between Russia and New Zealand, Russian TV, please go to:

http://www.vesti.ru/videos?vid=298438

Russia - New Zealand Quotes

When George Bernard Shaw visited New Zealand a reporter asked him his impression of the place and, after a pause, Shaw is said to have replied: "Altogether too many sheep".G.B. Shaw, 1934
Когда журналист спросил Бернарда Шоу о его впечатлениях о визите в Новую Зеландию, он ответил: "В общем, слишком много овец".Б.Шоу, 1934

Prior Group Market Reports

Russia - New Zealand History

Russian knowledge of New Zealand and the Maori dates from the late seventeenth century. New Zealand was the first region of Polynesia of which the Russians had authoritative data, all collected from the Dutch. The Dutch material was complemented in the later eighteenth century by primary accounts of Captain James Cook's several visits to that country and his lengthy stays within Queen Charlotte Sound.
In 1808 and 1814, the first Russian encounters with the Maori took place at Cape Town and Sydney. Though the officers of the Diana and Suvorov found the Maoris from the Bay of Islands (Matara, Ruatara, Hongi Hika, and others) intellectually quick and very friendly, they could not think of them other than as recent and potential cannibals.
The reports of Cook and his associates, published in German, French, and Russian, reinforced this association. Nonetheless, a Russian expedition led by Captain F.F. Bellingshausen paid a visit to Queen Charlotte Sound in 1820, using Cook's charts and accounts. It proved to be most important from the standpoint of ethnology, and was useful for the visitors as well, who were amply supplied with food. Glynn Barratt, Russia and the South Pacific, 1696-1840, Volume 2, University of British Columbia Press, 1988

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