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Reconstruction Of Afghanistan: NZ’s Role

17 November 2001

New Zealand is standing by to send aid teams to Afghanistan, and prepared to add its weight behind a UN led programme to establish stable government , Aid Minister Matt Robson repeated today at the African Focus Conference in Auckland.

“It is important that this time the Afghan people have the opportunity to choose their own government, free of the direct intervention of another country.

“As part of a United Nation’s led programme, New Zealand and other countries can help Afghanistan to re-build itself.

“Our offer of a humanitarian aid package will play a significant role in that.”

New Zealand has offered a C130 plane to help with the delivery of aid, a medical team and a team of engineers. Last month New Zealand gave $1 million aid to Afghanistan

Matt Robson and Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff will be discussing the next steps for New Zealand in the coming week. Phil Goff recently returned from New York where he met with United Nation’s officials.

Matt Robson told the African Focus Conference that at times over the years, politics not need had driven aid policy.

“That has changed. Our focus now is the elimination of poverty, basic education and regional security.

“Aid has a key role to play in creating a safe and secure world. We all know that terrorism breeds in places of great poverty and civil unrest.

“Targeted aid can help to create not only security but opportunity for people who have felt for generations that the future did not belong to them.”

Matt Robson said that although the focus for New Zealand’s aid was our own backyard of the Pacific, Africa would remain a recipient of New Zealand aid. In the last year New Zealand provided $10.85 million to Africa, targeting basic education, rural areas, HIV and AIDs awareness and other areas.

Ends

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