23 Jul 2009

CMAG talks prompt McCully to skip French summit in Noumea

11:54 am on 23 July 2009

The New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully, says his attendance of a Commonwealth meeting on Fiji next week will prevent him from going to the summit held by France with Pacific leaders in New Caledonia.

Mr McCully says Wellington is yet to decide who will go to the Noumea meeting on July the 31st, which will be chaired by the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, standing in for Nicolas Sarkozy.

Mr McCully says he regards it as essential to represent the region at the meeting in London.

"We have a meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group in relation to Fiji that has been called for the same day in London, and i think that is going to take precedence over other commitments. That's a meeting where I have a direct role, where I think the regional representation is essential and so that's had to have first call upon my time."

Murray McCully.

The AFP news agency says Mr Kouchner plans to visit Australia and New Zealand before flying to Noumea but the trip has not been confirmed