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NZ condemns terrorism, hostage taking in Iraq

New Zealand condemns terrorism, hostage taking in Iraq

Foreign Minister Phil Goff today reiterated New Zealand's condemnation of on-going terrorist attacks in Iraq as brutal and pointless.

Mr Goff's comments support a statement by the Multinational Force condemning terrorist activities in Iraq and calling on countries not to bow to terrorists' demands. "New Zealand did not support the military invasion of Iraq. However it strongly backs the United Nations-mandated political process now under way as restoring to Iraqis the power to determine their own future," Mr Goff said.

"Terrorist attacks by dissident and foreign elements are mainly victimising Iraqi people and standing in the way of self-determination and improved social and economic conditions.

"New Zealand also utterly condemns the taking and killing of hostages. We sympathise with the appalling situation faced by governments whose citizens are taken hostage and threatened with execution unless terrorist demands are met.

"However we have stated firmly that giving in to such demands increases the probability of others being taken hostage and killed.

"I can only repeat the warnings we have issued to New Zealanders travelling to or in Iraq. The situation there is so dangerous that it does not justify the risk.

"If New Zealanders get into trouble in Iraq there is little the government can do to assist. We could not meet the conditions likely to be demanded to secure the release of any New Zealander held hostage there.

"Our message is clear – New Zealanders should not go to Iraq, and those who are there should leave," Mr Goff said.

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