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Friendly, But Firm, Warning From US Ambassador

Friendly, But Firm, Warning From US Ambassador

Wednesday 8 Oct 2003 Ken Shirley Press Releases -- Foreign Affairs & Defence

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader Ken Shirley today expressed disappointment that protestors were able to prevent US Ambassador to New Zealand Charles Swindells' from delivering an important speech which contained warnings for the Labour Government.

"While stressing that New Zealand's ban on nuclear ships is not a test of our friendship or of our mutual co-operation, Mr Swindells stated emphatically that it does place limits on our relationship and impedes closer co-operation," Mr Shirley said.

"Emphasising that friends and allies are not the same thing, he pleaded for an end to this bi-lateral disagreement and stressed that the US is not going to just `get over it'.

"While stating that such a serious disagreement cannot overwhelm the ties that bind us, Mr Swindells pointed out that it is not cost free, and clearly stated that 20 years on a re-examination of this issue could benefit us all.

"This careful speech from the US Ambassador is obviously sanctioned by Washington and it contains a plea for a greater relationship between our two countries. The ball is in our court; we imposed this foolish legislation, which has no strategic or environment purpose, and I call on the Government once more to support my Private Members Bill to lift the ban on nuclear-propelled ship visits.

"This is the only remaining obstacle to our full participation in a strategic defence alliance with our traditional allies, and is also the only obstacle to us enjoying equal status with Australia in negotiating a free trade agreement with the huge US market.

"The pathway forward should be a no-brainer for this Government - regrettably, however, its rhetoric will continue to trip it up," Mr Shirley said.


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