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NZ deplores attacks on UN posts in Lebanon

26 July 2006

NZ deplores attacks on UN posts in Lebanon

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that New Zealand deplores the attacks which have struck United Nations posts in Lebanon, killing at least four UN peacekeepers and wounding others.

At least four UN observers were killed after an Israeli air raid struck a UNIFIL (UN Interim Force in Lebabon) base in Khiam in southern Lebanon. Both Israel and Hezbollah have been involved in other attacks which have left at least six other UN observers wounded.

“The deaths of non-combatants, and particularly UN staff attempting to keep the peace, is deplorable.

“UNIFIL was created in 1978 to confirm Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon after an invasion in response to Palestinian attacks, and to restore peace and security. It is a tragedy that these attacks are claiming the lives of those sent to keep the peace.

“It is also a tragedy that after 28 years, the region seems to be back where it was in 1978.

“New Zealand deplores these attacks which have destroyed UN posts and killed UN personnel along with all the other attacks which have destroyed infrastructure, communitiers, and human lives. Just as Hezbollah are urged to stop their attacks, so must Israel cease the disproportionate violence which is striking civilians and infrastructure.

“In the absence of either side moving towards peace, however, we call on both sides to cease attacks in the vicinity of UN posts and which threaten civilians.”

Helen Clark said that she would be making a ministerial statement on this issue in Parliament today.

ENDS

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