New Zealand, Finland reaffirm need for continued international support to Ukraine

A tank containing members of the 68th Independent Jager Brigade of the Ukrainian Army, including the tank commander, rip through mud as they move towards a position to fire at a Russian military target on the frontline in the Southern Donbas region in Ukraine, November 29, 2022. REUTERS/Leah Millis

(Reuters) - New Zealand and Finland on Wednesday reaffirmed the need for continued international support to Ukraine for as long as it takes so that the conflict ends on terms set by Kyiv and reiterated their unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty.

"We discussed our strong commitment to supporting Ukraine as the war continues," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a joint media briefing with her Finnish counterpart, Sanna Marin, after their meeting in Auckland.

The rules-based international order that both countries rely on for their prosperity and security is under pressure due to the war in Ukraine and it is more important than ever to uphold them, the leaders said.

Ardern and Marin also welcomed the U.N. Human Rights Council resolution that established a fact-finding mission to Iran to independently investigate the alleged human rights violations there, including those of women and girls.

"I also worry about the situation in Iran right now ... the brave women that are protesting against the laws and the security situation of women in Iran, we need to address these kind of issues together," Marin said.

Ardern welcomed Finland's commitment to ensure the free trade agreement with the European Union gets ratified and signed as soon as possible, after finalising it earlier this year.

The trade deal is expected to increase New Zealand's exports to the EU by up to NZ$1.8 billion ($1.12 billion) per year.

The prime ministers also discussed a range of geo-political issues, including the global economic downturn, labour shortages and the cost of living pressures across the world.

($1 = 1.6134 New Zealand dollars)

(Reporting by Renju Jose in Sydney; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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