Iran Israel Statement Unhelpful: Foreign Minister
Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Iranian Statement on Israel Unhelpful Says Foreign Minister
Foreign Minister Winston Peters has criticised comments by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling for Israel to be “wiped off the map”.
“New Zealand takes a balanced and constructive approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict,” said Mr Peters.
“We uphold Israel’s right to exist within secure and recognised borders. We also consider that the Palestinians have the right to self-determination and to a viable and territorially contiguous state.
“New Zealand has consistently urged all sides to re-engage in the Quartet sponsored Roadmap peace process.
“The Iranian President’s statement calling for Israel’s destruction is unhelpful and is inconsistent with international policy and efforts to effect progress on the Middle East Peace Process.”
Mr Peters noted that for the last fifty years New Zealand has contributed to peacekeeping initiatives in the Middle East via the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organisation, and the Sinai Multinational Force and Observers. New Zealand personnel are currently serving in Israel and Lebanon.
“New Zealand also contributes financially to assist basic education, health and social services for Palestinian refugees. New initiatives including $500,000 for reconstruction and basic service provision through the Public Financial Management Reform Trust Fund for the West Bank and Gaza; and NZ$500,000 to the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Relief Appeal will also get underway this year.
“With progress being made towards peace in the Middle East, all countries – including Iran – should join in efforts to foster that process,” Mr Peters concluded.