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NZ statement to UN on Separation Wall


Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

15 October 2003

NZ statement to UN on Separation Wall

Delivered by NZ Permanent Representative Don Mackay
The United Nations, New York
14 October

Mr President

New Zealand strongly supports the efforts of the Quartet to work towards a peaceful resolution of the Israel Palestinian dispute, through the ‘Roadmap’.

We are very concerned at the tragic increase in violence that has occurred over the past few months. An appalling example is the recent attack in Haifa, where again innocent people, including women and children, were maimed and killed. New Zealand expresses its deepest sympathy for all the victims of violence, both Israeli and Palestinian.

This needless suffering highlights once more the need for both sides, with the support of the international community, to focus on finding a resolution to this conflict. We call on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to commit to the peace process and to implement their respective obligations under the Roadmap. They must not allow the acts of a few to destroy the hopes of all for peace.

Israel has the right to act to preserve the security of its people. But the construction of a security wall taking in areas of the West Bank serves only to undermine the peace process and the trust needed for constructive negotiation and dialogue. We urge Israel to reconsider its decision to proceed with this wall.

Now is a time to show leadership through restraint and to break the escalating cycle of incident and response that is eroding the prospects for the Roadmap. Extremists are cynically using violent attacks to disrupt efforts to bring about peace. Assassinations, settlement activity and heavy-handed military responses help ensure that this tactic succeeds.

New Zealand welcomes statements from Palestinian leaders condemning the Haifa attack and renouncing terror. The Palestinian leadership must take tangible steps to demonstrate its commitment to stopping extremists from committing such acts.

New Zealand has been encouraged by the efforts that have been made at reform this year, including the appointment of the first Palestinian Prime Minister. This progress must not be allowed to falter and we look forward to further steps at reform under the new Prime Minister.

ENDS

All Phil Goff’s media releases and speeches are posted at www.beehive.govt.nz

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