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Labour Must Be Honest About Iraq Risks

Labour Must Be Honest About Iraq Risks

Thursday 21 Aug 2003
Ken Shirley
Press Releases -- Foreign Affairs & Defence

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Defence Spokesman Ken Shirley today expressed sympathy to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his colleagues for the loss of UN Mission Chief Sergio Vieira de Mello, but questioned Mr Annan's comments against the US yesterday.

"Mr Annan placed blame for this tragedy on the US, claiming that it had failed to create a secure environment for the UN Mission in Iraq," Mr Shirley said.

"It must be remembered that, having passed 17 resolutions condemning Iraq's lack of compliance - culminating in resolution 1441 - it was the UN that failed to take necessary action, leaving the dirty work to Britain, the US and Australia. It is a bit rich now for the UN to blame the US for the lack of security in Iraq.

"This shocking incident has exposed the Labour Government's double-dealing on the deployment of troops. Prime Minister Helen Clark has tried to convince the public that New Zealand is contributing engineers, not soldiers, to the post-conflict reconstruction of Iraq.

"We must always remember that the troops we deploy are, first and foremost, professional soldiers - and that Iraq will continue to be a dangerous theatre for the foreseeable future.

"The reality is that our military forces are deliberately deployed and placed in harm's way. The Labour Government should be honest with the public, rather than pretending that our soldiers' safety can be totally assured," Mr Shirley said.

ENDS


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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