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NZ pledges help to re-build Afghanistan

22 January 2002 Media Statement

NZ pledges help to re-build Afghanistan

New Zealand has offered its skills and its expertise to help the people of Afghanistan re-build their country, Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs Matt Robson said last night in Tokyo.

New Zealand is one of over sixty countries represented at the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan.

“While smaller countries like New Zealand can’t offer the big sums of money offered by the larger countries , we have shown in East Timor that we can make a unique contribution,” says Matt Robson.

In a statement presented to the conference, Matt Robson pledged New Zealand to assist with the re-building of government, the removel of land mines, setting up of irrigation programs, and other areas where New Zealanders have expertise.

“For the people of Afghanistan it is just as urgent to re-build the mechanisms of government, as it is to re-build bridges and roads.

“The country has been devestated by two decades of conflict and three years of drought. It needs its own police, judges, public servants, teachers, doctors and more.

“New Zealand has offered experts to work alongside Afghan counterparts on the ground.

Matt Robson also said that if each country represented at the conference put 1% of their defence budgets towards assistance to developing countries, there would be more than enough to meet not only the needs of Afghanistan, but all other developing countries.

“Terrorism and violence breed in poverty. And as we have seen, the consequencesof that for the whole world can be devastating,” says Matt Robson.


ENDS

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