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NZ Deplores Middle East Violence

4 April 2002

NZ Deplores Middle East Violence At Emergency UN Meeting

Foreign Minister Phil Goff said New Zealand had today deplored the escalating violence in the Middle East at an emergency open session of the United Nations Security Council.

New Zealand Permanent Representative to the UN Don MacKay made the statement at the day-long debate at which almost 60 nations attended.

Mr Goff said in the past few days the fighting in Nablus, Bethlehem and other West Bank towns signalled yet another peak in the violence.

“I am particularly appalled by the killing of innocent civilians. In the past six days alone, more than eighty Israelis and Palestinians have reportedly been killed and hundreds more injured.

“Today’s statement to the UN Security Council reiterated New Zealand’s criticism of the use of excessive force by the Israeli Defence Force along with its stated policy of assassinations which must be halted immediately.

“New Zealand joins other nations in urging an end to the occupation of the Palestinian Authority Headquarters in Ramallah and the attempted isolation and exile of Yasser Arafat.

“We also call on the Israeli Government to halt its expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

“I also equally condemn the suicide bombings. Those responsible for sending people to their deaths in this way and arbitrarily slaughtering civilians must be brought to justice.

“The increased intensity of violence over the past week is simply putting a durable solution further out of reach. The senseless cycle of slaughter just entrenches hatred and retribution.

“New Zealand, along with other nations in New York today, urged full compliance with UN resolutions which propose a two state solution.

“In today’s statement, we also reinforced calls make by the European Union, Chile and others for the parties to accept observers.

A neutral third party monitoring mechanism under a Security Council mandate would help support a ceasefire and begin the rebuilding of trust between the two parties,” Mr Goff said.

Ends

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