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Clark poised for back down on Iraq clean up

Bill English National Party Leader

15 April 2003

Clark poised for back down on Iraq clean up

National Party Leader Bill English says Helen Clark is preparing the ground for a major back down on Iraq.

"She is trying desperately to back pedal on her embarrassing comments about Al Gore and the US Presidency," Mr English said. "The Prime Minister last month ruled out New Zealand peacekeepers going to Iraq unless they were under United Nations command, and indicated that any approach from the United States for peacekeepers would be rebuffed.

"Now the Prime Minister is refusing to rule out allowing them to work under a US command.

"She is trying to paper over the cracks she has caused in our relationship with the United States. It will take more than last minute political posturing to correct her biggest gaffe since becoming Prime Minister.

"What has happened to her former principled stand of backing the UN at all costs?

"All New Zealanders lose if the Prime Minister is allowed to start making decisions based on mending her mistakes, rather than on what is best for the country.

"It is clear our national interest is in trouble when the Prime Minister is forced to use meaningless comments about a "developing situation" and a "continuum of developments" when asked if New Zealand will assist in the US clean up," Mr English said.


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