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New Zealand sends condolences to Iraq

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister of New Zealand

1 September 2005 Media Statement

New Zealand sends condolences to Iraq

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Phil Goff expressed their deepest condolences to the Iraqi Government and people over the sudden and tragic loss of almost one thousand lives in Baghdad yesterday.

"This latest, dreadful chapter in the ongoing series of violent episodes in Iraq will again test the resolve of the long-suffering people of that country.

"New Zealand commends the courage of the Iraqi people and hopes that Iraq will continue to make progress in its path towards the establishment of a democratic and constitutional Government," said Helen Clark and Mr Goff.

The incident happened on a river bridge as a large number of Shia pilgrims were making their way to a religious festival. The victims, mostly women and children, died when the crowd stampeded in response to rumours that a suicide bomber had been seen. Hundreds of people were also reported to have fallen into the Tigris river when the iron railings on the bridge gave way.

The Iraqi Government has declared three days of mourning.

ENDS

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