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Goff Meets Armitage in Washington


Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

26 September 2001

Goff Meets Armitage in Washington


Foreign Minister Phil Goff met in Washington this morning with US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Also present for the meeting was Assistant Secretary of State Jim Kelly. The three-quarter hour meeting canvassed the United States's response to the terrorist attacks of 11 September and New Zealand's commitment to the international campaign to defeat terrorism.

“I expressed on behalf of New Zealand our sympathy for the grief and loss of life sustained as a result of the attacks.

"I offered New Zealand’s unequivocal support for the global campaign which will be necessary to secure the world against future terrorist attacks. Terrorism on the scale witnessed on 11 September is in our view the most serious current threat to international peace and security. Mr Armitage noted concerns that further attacks were a real possibility.

“Our support will involve diplomatic and political measures (including the immediate strengthening of legislation targeting terrorist activities) ongoing intelligence support and, if necessary, military support involving deployment of special forces.

"Mr Armitage welcomed the clear message from New Zealand and thanked us for the strength of support that we have offered which will be factored into the planning process in Washington.

“We were briefed fully on the measures which the United States has under consideration. Mr Armitage made it clear that military action was only one component in the strategy to combat terrorism. Diplomatic, financial and intelligence measures will be crucial factors in the campaign. He emphasised the importance the US placed on ensuring that any military action would be targeted and not indiscriminate.

“I welcomed the approach taken by the US to build the broadest possible coalition of nations in the fight against terrorism, including the Islamic and Arab world who have expressed their own condemnation of the terrorist attacks.

“It is important that the whole world sees the target of the campaign as the narrow group of fanatical extremists who commit indiscriminate and appalling acts of terror, and not a particular country or religion.

“I particularly welcomed the commitment shown by the US to provide food and relief to the millions of Afghani people suffering as a result of famine and oppression. The US is currently the largest aid donor to Afghan relief efforts. The whole international community will need to support efforts organised through the United Nations to avert impending humanitarian disaster in that country as a result of famine and the brutal repression of the Taleban regime.

“The events of a fortnight ago have brought home the vulnerability of all of us to the threat posed by organised international terrorism. The more than 6000 lives lost in this tragedy are only a small percentage of lives at risk should the next wave of terrorist attacks target a nuclear power station or involve biological, chemical or nuclear weapons.

“The attacks represent a new generation of security threat to civilised people everywhere. Our own as well as the world’s security depends on an intensive, coordinated and determined response by the international community to defeating terrorism” Mr Goff concluded.

ENDS

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