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Peters failed New Zealanders over Bashir

Hon Murray McCully National Party Foreign Affairs Spokesman

22 June 2006

Peters failed New Zealanders over Bashir

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has failed New Zealanders by refusing to raise with his Indonesian counterpart concerns over the release of Bali bombing architect Abu Bakar Bashir, says National Party Foreign Affairs spokesman Murray McCully.

Mr Peters today defended his refusal to raise the matter, in response to parliamentary questions.

"New Zealanders as well as Australians were killed in the Bali bombings. The release of Bashir after such a short prison sentence is an outrage," says Mr McCully.

"Australian Prime Minister John Howard has confirmed publicly that he would raise the issue personally with the Indonesian President.

"The Australian Foreign Minister has confirmed that the Acting Australian Ambassador to Indonesia has sought assurances from the Indonesian Foreign Minister as to steps that will be taken to ensure that Bashir cannot engage in further acts of terrorism.

"I would expect our Foreign Affairs Minister to directly convey to his Indonesian counterpart the concerns of New Zealanders that Bashir has been released, and to underline Australian requests that he be closely watched.

"At the very least I would have expected Mr Peters to have instructed our ambassador to raise the matter, as the Australian representative has done.

"The fact that Mr Peters has failed to protect the security interests of New Zealanders in this matter is deeply regrettable, and stands in marked contrast to the strong and resolute actions of the Australian Government. "Perhaps this is merely another example of the cringing political correctness which appears to be becoming Mr Peters' hallmark," says Mr McCully.

ENDS


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