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NZ shares US determination to root out terrorism

21 September 2001 Media Statement

NZ shares US determination to root out terrorism


Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that President Bush had delivered a clear and unequivocal message to the Taliban and other governments who harbour terrorists. That message is that they should hand them over or share their fate.

Helen Clark said that the United States was not proposing a knee jerk reaction to random acts of violence.

"What the United States is asking the whole world to address is a radical terrorist network which has shown its capability to deliver co-ordinated acts of hideous violence.

"The United States has identified El Qaida as a collection of loosely affiliated terrorist organisations, operating in sixty countries with thousands of operators.

"New Zealand supports the United States' determination to root out El Qaida and other terrorist groups world wide. This will be a lengthy campaign. We urge the United States to co-ordinate closely with others as this campaign develops.

"President Bush has said that he sees this as an international effort. New Zealand is in it for the long haul too.

"In my letter to President Bush last week, I told him that New Zealand was ready to work with the United States and other members of the international community to eradicate terrorism and bring the perpetrators to justice. I call on all New Zealanders to support international efforts against terrorism, and to put the lamentable party politicking which has been associated with this issue aside.

"President Bush made it clear that the teachings of the Islamic faith are good and must be distinguished from the terrorists who have blasphemed that faith and tried to hijack it. He made special mention of the prayers offered for those who died by leaders of all faiths in America, including those of Islamic leaders.

"I call on New Zealanders to make that distinction too. Our country also contains people of many faiths, and all those faiths and those of peaceful intent who follow them must be respected."

Helen Clark said that New Zealand is responding to the United States and the UN Security Council's calls for effective action to combat terrorism. "Our political, diplomatic, and intelligence support is ongoing. We will play our part in international efforts to cut off access to funds by terrorist groups. We are also prepared to make a military contribution", Helen Clark said.

ENDS

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