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George Bush needs a friend

15 June 2006

George Bush needs a friend

As a "very, very, very good friend" of the United States, New Zealand should rescue President George Bush from his current bind over Guantanamo Bay, and urge him to close the facility, says Green Party Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Keith Locke.

"Even President Bush now concedes that he'd like to close the facility. Even he realises that the inhuman and illegal treatment being meted out to Gitmo's inmates is damaging America's image abroad.

"As a keen supporter of the UN, this is a golden chance for Helen Clark to woo President Bush back onto the path of multilateralism," Mr Locke says.

"If she broke her silence on Gitmo, the Prime Minister would be in good company. This week, the European Parliament voted, by a large majority, to adopt a joint resolution that called for the US administration to close the detention centre at Guantanamo Bay. It also insisted that every prisoner be treated in accordance with international humanitarian law, and if charged, be tried without delay in public before a competent and independent tribunal.

"Surely Helen Clark can readily support such a position? A call by the Prime Minister to close Guantanamo Bay would be quite consistent with her declared support for international law, for UN conventions, and for multilateralism.

"It would be unfortunate if concerns about the potential domestic fallout from any negative criticism of the US should ever be serving to inhibit the expression of friendly advice - particularly when, as in this case, it is in defence of such fundamental liberties."


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