New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters says his official talks with the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York today focused on a shared commitment to partnering with the Pacific Islands region and a common concern about the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

“Small states in the Pacific rely on collective action to tackle urgent global challenges, including sea level rise and sustainable economic development,” Peters said.

“My discussions with the Secretary-General underscored the crucial role that the United Nations does and must play in helping the Pacific to meet these challenges. New Zealand is honoured to be playing a leadership role in the United Nations in preparing a High Level Meeting on sea level rise in September,” Peters said.

“Having spent time with the Secretary-General in New Zealand and the Pacific in 2019, it was important to resume our dialogue on the region’s priorities – and what more we might do to work together to help advance them.”

Gaza was another focus of discussion, Peters said.

“An immediate ceasefire is needed to halt the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza”

“UN agencies, including UNRWA, are playing a crucial role in delivering humanitarian assistance and other vital services to Gazans. We discussed New Zealand’s latest contributions to these efforts, the ongoing investigations into UNRWA, and New Zealand’s next annual payment due in June. New Zealand is committed to playing its part to aid Palestinians caught up in the conflict, including through appropriate UN agencies.”

Peters also expressed New Zealand’s condolences to the Secretary-General over the loss of over 175 UN staff in the Gaza conflict.