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[Media Release - MFAI] Foreign Service digital re-calibration ensure delivery of core activities

Government of the Cook Islands

Te Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration

Friday 12 March 2021 - 1600

In a first for the Cook Islands, Te Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration facilitated the virtual presentation of credentials by Wellington-based Ambassadors of six countries last week.

Border closures over the last year have prevented Ambassadors resident in Wellington, Canberra and Suva from travelling to Rarotonga to present their letters of credence to the Head of State, His Excellency Sir Tom Marsters as is the standard protocol the world over for Ambassadors to commence their tour of duty.

The Queen’s Representative received letters of credence for the following non-resident Ambassadors; Apostolic Nuncio His Excellency Archbishop Novatus Rugambwa, Holy See; His Excellency Edgardo Valdés López, Ambassador for the Republic of Cuba; His Excellency Michael Winzap, Ambassador for Switzerland; His Excellency Ito Koichi, Ambassador for Japan; Her Excellency Mira Woldburg, Ambassador for the Kingdom of the Netherlands and His Excellency Tantowi Yahya, Ambassador for the Republic of Indonesia.

The ceremonies were hosted via online video conferencing platform ‘Zoom’ from the VIP Lounge at the Rarotonga Airport with the Queen’s Representative, Sir Tom Masters virtually receiving letters of credence for all six Ambassadors, and the Cook Islands High Commission in Wellington, New Zealand hosting in person the non-resident Ambassadors at the High Commission Chancery.

MFAI Director International & Trade Division Karopaerangi Ngatoko who oversaw last week’s credentials program noted “Border closures have required MFAI utilize innovative and digital means to continue the conduct of diplomatic activities and accreditation of foreign representatives. COVID impact has required of MFAI elevated and innovative efforts to strengthen bilateral and multilateral engagement to support our national COVID response and recovery efforts. The virtual platform employed for last week’s credentials ceremony will support ongoing bilateral conversations MFAI lead on behalf of the Cook Islands with the governments of all six countries and we look forward to working closely with the accredited Ambassadors in the months ahead on issues and challenges of shared and separate interest”.

MFAI headquarters and the Cook Islands High Commission in Wellington was assisted in its delivery of the virtual Presentation of Credentials ceremony by the Office of the Queen’s Representative with technical support from the ICT Division of the Office of the Prime Minister, Vodafone Cook Islands, Airport Authority, and the Embassies of Cuba, Switzerland, Japan, the Netherlands, Indonesia and the Holy See. It is anticipated Ambassadors may look to visit once two-way Quarantine Free Travel resumes in the weeks ahead.

Queries regarding this release can be directed to phone 29347 during office hours.


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