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Trade and Ukraine dominate agenda as Johnson meets New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern

PA Wire

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is in London for talks with Boris Johnson, with trade and the war in Ukraine dominating the agenda.

Mr Johnson greeted Ms Ardern with a handshake outside the door of Number 10, welcoming the New Zealand leader on her first UK trip since the pandemic began.

Inside, with the Union and New Zealand flags in the background, Mr Johnson said it was a “great, great pleasure” to welcome Ms Ardern to Downing Street.

While he said it was her first visit since the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Johnson also pointed out that it was her first trip since the two countries signed a fresh free trade deal in February.

Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, ahead of talks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Downing Street (John Sibley/PA) (PA Wire)

“Very good to see you,” he told Ms Ardern, as he praised the “very strong line that you take on Ukraine”.

Fresh from the Nato summit in Madrid, which she attended alongside Mr Johnson, Ms Ardern told the Prime Minister: “Thank you so much for the opportunity to meet you.”

Her visit to the UK and Europe, she said, was an “incredibly important milestone for us in New Zealand”.

New Zealand only recently reopened its borders to international visitors, after two years of a strict border policy amid the global pandemic.

Ms Ardern said it signified “we are open for business, for trade, for tourism”.

The New Zealand prime minister said the pair would be discussing the recently signed trade deal and progress on ratification.

She said the deal was good for both the UK and New Zealand.

Boris Johnson with Jacinda Ardern (John Sibley/PA) (PA Wire)

Ms Ardern also said they would discuss the situation in Ukraine.

She told the Prime Minister it was a good “opportunity” to discuss the way the two countries have together responded to the war, noting the UK leadership on the conflict.

“We have also provided our military aid via our partnership with you,” she told Mr Johnson.

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