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PM Lee, New Zealand’s Ardern reaffirm close ties in phone call; leaders discuss COVID-19 pandemic

PM Lee, New Zealand’s Ardern reaffirm close ties in phone call; leaders discuss COVID-19 pandemic

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a joint press conference held at the Istana on Friday, May 17, 2019. (File photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday (Oct 27) called his New Zealand counterpart Ms Jacinda Ardern to offer his congratulations, ten days on from her historic election victory.

Mr Lee had earlier written a letter of congratulations to Ms Ardern.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement that the two leaders “reaffirmed the close partnership between Singapore and New Zealand”.

Mr Lee and Ms Ardern also spoke about the coronavirus pandemic and looked ahead to the resumption of international travel.

“They discussed how both countries have cooperated amid the COVID-19 pandemic to maintain supply chain connectivity and agreed to continue working together to maintain trade flows,” MFA said.

“The prime ministers also exchanged views on COVID-19 recovery efforts, including the safe and gradual re-opening of borders.”

New Zealand is one of four countries which Singapore has unilaterally opened its borders to with the Air Travel Pass scheme.

Unlike fast or green lane arrangements, the scheme allows all forms of short-term travel, including for leisure.

Visitors have to apply for an Air Travel Pass, and must have remained in the departing country for 14 consecutive days prior to arrival in Singapore.

Source: CNA/kg(rw)

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