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NZ statement on Iraq to UN Security Council

NZ statement on Iraq to UN Security Council

Delivered by NZ's Permanent Representative Don Mackay

Mr President,

The New Zealand Government deeply regrets the breakdown of the diplomatic process and the hostilities which are now underway.

While we acknowledge the endeavour to avoid civilian casualties, the loss of life on both sides is of deep concern. It is also essential that the Geneva Conventions be adhered to by all parties.

But our immediate focus now should be to the future.

Our common objective must be to end hostilities as quickly as possible, so that the risks to the Iraqi people are minimised and so that their humanitarian needs can be met. Those involved in initiating the military action appear to have acknowledged their responsibilities in this respect in their planning.

The broader international community needs to respond urgently to the United Nation’s call for humanitarian relief funds. New Zealand has already announced a contribution to relief agencies and we are looking at other ways we can help as needs and means become clearer.

The Security Council must move to resolve practical issues relating to the Oil for Food Programme in these circumstances. The Programme needs to continue to operate effectively. The Secretary-General has made proposals for its continuing effectiveness and the Council should work quickly to reach an agreement on this.

This has been an extremely divisive and difficult period for the Council. We want to see it now set aside those differences and focus on the welfare of the Iraqi people.

There will be a challenging period of reconstruction in Iraq ahead. It will be in the longer-term interest of us all to see the United Nations itself fully engaged.

The United Nations has the experience to contribute and to help define the international architecture for the delivery of humanitarian and reconstruction assistance.

Member states will expect the Council to work co-operatively to facilitate United Nations involvement.

New Zealand will of course work with others in the United Nations to assist with this humanitarian and reconstruction response.

Thank you Mr President.

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