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NZ expresses concern at UN session on Gaza

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

6 July 2006

NZ expresses concern at UN session on Gaza

New Zealand has expressed concern at the escalating violence between Israel and Palestinians at a special session on the Gaza situation at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today.

Mr Peters said the statement read, by Permanent Representative Don MacKay, condemned the loss of innocent civilian lives on both sides and called on all parties to exercise restraint and abide by international law.

"New Zealand calls on those holding the Israeli soldier hostage to facilitate his release. At the same time we are deeply concerned at the detention by Israel of democratically elected members of the Palestinian Parliament," the statement said.

"We call for an end to all terrorist activities. It is disastrous that recent events have led to the military wing of Hamas terminating its ceasefire with Israel, and we call for it to be resumed.

"The humanitarian situation in Gaza is of great concern. Urgent action is needed to ensure adequate provision of electricity, water and sewerage facilities to the civilian population of Gaza.

"We also call for an end to the destruction of vital infrastructure in Gaza. All steps must be taken to prevent a humanitarian crisis and ensure the transit of essential supplies of food, fuel and medicine.

"We hope that a way will be found to resolve the current situation by peaceful means. Diplomatic negotiations rather than violence are needed to resolve the situation.

"It is important that all parties desist from further actions that could lead to greater bloodshed and undermine the viability of negotiations for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. We urge both parties to redirect their efforts towards finding a pathway for dialogue."

ENDS

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