Sultan leaves for N Zealand
Dean Kassim

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday left for Wellington, New Zealand for an Official Visit.

Before leaving from Istana Nurul Iman, a Doa Selamat was read by Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned, the State Mufti.

Present at The Sultanís Flight Hangar in Rimba to bid farewell to His Majesty were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Ministerís Office; His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince ĎAbdul Malik; His Royal Highness Prince ĎAbdul Wakeel; Her Royal Highness Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah; as well as other members of the royal family.

Also present at the hangar were Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Cheterias; Speaker of the State Legislative Council; Cabinet Ministers; Members of Councils; Deputy Ministers; the Commander of Royal Brunei Armed Forces; and the Commissioner of Police.

During the visit, His Majesty will receive a State Welcome at the Government House in Wellington on March 26 at 2pm, followed by a State Dinner that evening. His Majesty will also lay a wreath at the National War Memorial in Wellington.

Much of the past contact between New Zealand and Brunei has been in the context of Bruneiís membership of Asean. Brunei attaches the highest importance to its Asean membership and has participated actively in the bloc. The end of Bruneiís three-year role as New Zealandís Asean Dialogue country coordinator in July 2000 coincided with the 25th anniversary of NZ-Asean Dialogue relations.

Brunei and New Zealand also work together in the East Asia Summit, APEC, the Commonwealth and the United Nations.

High-level visits from and to Brunei, have cemented the bilateral relationship.

Recent visits to Brunei include Sir Anand Satyanand, Governor-General of New Zealand and Lady Susan Satyanandís visit in October 2010; Trevor Mallard, a Cabinet Minister, for the Commonwealth Finance Ministersí Meeting in September 2003; and Prime Minister Helen Clark in November 2000 for the 8th APEC Leaders Meeting. Other New Zealand ministers who have visited Brunei include Phil Goff, Jim Sutton, Dr Michael Cullen and Pete Hodgson.

His Majesty visited New Zealand twice in 1995, and also attended the APEC Leadersí Meeting in Auckland in September 1999. HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Ministerís Office, visited New Zealand in March 2003. - Borneo Bulletin (25 March 2013)