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PM talks peace but supports military build-up

Clark talks peace but supports military build-up

The Green Party is accusing Prime Minister Helen Clark of playing a double game over the Iraq crisis.

"Today, as she talks about peace, Helen Clark is sending off Te Mana to work under American command in the Persian Gulf," Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson Keith Locke said today.

"Intercepting al Qaeda 'sea traffic' is only the cover for the Gulf operation. Its main purpose is clearly to plot the position of every ship in the Gulf, and its cargo, in preparation for a war on Iraq. The likelihood of a known al Qaeda operative travelling across the Gulf in a boat is about nil.

"The Prime Minister is also falling short as an advocate of peace. She should be campaigning against the war instead of acting like a bookie offering odds on whether a war will happen.

"The report of the weapons inspectors show there no reason for war and that Iraq has no nuclear programme.

"Clearly, if we are worried about nuclear warfare our attention should be focussed on Israel, Pakistan and India, which have nuclear weapons and are in potential conflict with their neighbours.

"There is also no evidence from the inspectors that Iraq has a current biological or chemical warfare programme, or that it is intending to attack any of its neighbours.

"There is simply no case for war, and our Prime Minister should say this, instead of saying New Zealand might support a Security Council-mandated attack with medical or logistic units.

"The PM seems strangely reluctant to convey the 'no war for oil' message to the White House and has in fact committed this country to the American-led military build-up in the region.

Keith Locke says the despatch to the region today of Te Mana will be much appreciated in Washington.

"The Prime Minister makes soothing noises for home consumption while all the time sending a very different message to the White House."

"The world is being inexorably drawn into a war that future generations will condemn as one of the most shameful ever mounted by a strong nation against a weak one. Silence now will not keep the blood from our hands later.

"We plead for this Government to send a strong, unequivocal message to Washington by withdrawing all New Zealand forces from the region."

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