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Justice, Not Vengeance, Must Be Sought

16 September 2001

Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson Keith Locke said today a US military assault on a country such as Afghanistan may incite more violence and destruction.

"Those who committed the horrific hijacking of four civilian airplanes and the destruction of the World Trade Centre must certainly be brought to justice, and New Zealand is helping to do this.

"The killing of 5000 innocent people in New York last week was an unspeakable crime, but a massive military assault on a country like Afghanistan would be likely to lead to more innocent civilians being killed. It would only foster more anger in the Islamic world, and produce more terrorists in the long run.

"The Prime Minister should caution the American government against vengeance. To respond to last week's events by reaping death and destruction on the citizens of another country could cause a spiral of violence.

"The world is in shock. It is a time for political leaders to act as statespeople."

Mr Locke said he was pleased Helen Clark was taking a cautious approach to the prospect of military action, and said he agreed with her view that we don't want more martyrs.

"The Green alternative is to work with other nations to bring the perpetrators of the outrage at the World Trade Centre to justice. There may be countries that try to hide those responsible, but political and economic pressures against them will be more effective than a military assault.

"War criminals like Slobodon Milosevic are now in the dock. An International Criminal Court is being set up. Nations should cooperate to capture the terrorists and put them on trial.

"Even the threat of an attack on Afghanistan is producing more refugees, to add the four million the world is already finding it difficult to handle.

"It would be ironic, at the time when we are taking in Afghani refugees, we supported a military action that created more of them."

Ends


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