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Australian premier to visit New Zealand at end of May

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison arriving for the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu. Photo: AFP via Australian Prime Minister’s Office/Adam Taylor. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

CANBERRA, May 17, 2021, Anadolu Agency. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will visit New Zealand later this month, New Zealand’s premier announced on Monday, Anadolu Agency reported.

Morrison will visit Queenstown, New Zealand, for the annual Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting on May 30 and 31, Jacinda Ardern said in a statement.

This will be Morrison first trip to New Zealand since the COVID-19 pandemic forced both countries to shut its borders last year.

“I’m looking forward to welcoming Prime Minister Morrison back to New Zealand following a difficult year for both our countries through the pandemic,” Ardern said.

“Discussions will centre on how Australia and New Zealand will meet the shared challenges we face. The key focus of the meeting will of course be our COVID-19 recovery as well as how we continue working together on key regional and security issues,” she added.

New Zealand formally opened its border with Australia last month.

“This visit will also be a good opportunity to celebrate the resumption of two-way quarantine free travel and to welcome our trans-Tasman cousins back to Aotearoa,” the New Zealand prime minister said.

Australia had opened its borders last October, allowing quarantine-free travel from New Zealand after easing virus-related restrictions.

So far, Australia has reported 29,978 COVID-19 infections and 910 deaths, while New Zealand has registered 2,651 cases and 26 fatalities, according to the US-based Johns Hopkins University.

Writing by Islamuddin Sajid

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