Shalom: "Now that this crisis is behind us, I have instructed the Foreign Ministry to act without delay to imbue these friendly relations with substantive content."

(Statement by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom)

I welcome the announcement by New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark today (Sunday, 26 June 2005) regarding the normalization of diplomatic relations between Israel and New Zealand, which were suspended in 2004.

As I undertook in my address to the Knesset last year on July 27, we spared no effort to bring the crisis with New Zealand to an end, and I am happy that we indeed have done so. During recent months the Foreign Ministry conducted intensive diplomatic contacts with New Zealand with the aim of bridging the gaps and restoring mutual trust. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in the effort to restore normal relations with New Zealand.

Israel is committed to these relations and we feel a similar commitment on the part of New Zealand. In his reply to my letter on this subject, New Zealand Foreign Minister Goff points out that New Zealand considers this crisis as past, and expresses the hope that both countries will act together to renew friendly relations.

Israel and New Zealand have shared friendly relations for many years. Now that this crisis is behind us, I have instructed the Foreign Ministry to act without delay to imbue these friendly relations with substantive content.