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NZ raises safety of UN personnel with UN HQ

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister of New Zealand

27 July 2006 Media Statement

NZ raises safety of UN personnel with UN HQ in New York


Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that New Zealand’s two military personnel attached to the United Nations in southern Lebanon would remain in their postings for the time being, but the situation is being closely monitored.

“Overnight, New Zealand’s representative at the United Nations in New York, Rosemary Banks, raised our concern about the safety of New Zealand and other UN personnel in Lebanon,” Helen Clark said.

“In the wake of Israel’s bombing of the UN post in Lebanon, the UN has raised its alert state to ‘Phase IV’, which means all non-essential staff are being evacuated.

“No military personnel, including New Zealand’s observers, are being considered for evacuation at this time. The UN is, however, closely monitoring the safety of its personnel in Lebanon on an on-going basis, and evacuation must remain an option.”

Helen Clark said that New Zealand’s statement, deploring the Israeli bombing of a United Nations post in Southern Lebanon, killing four unarmed UN peacekeepers, has been conveyed to the Israeli Government in three ways:

“The NZ Embassy in Ankara, which is accredited to Israel, has conveyed New Zealand’s message. The NZ High Commission in Canberra has conveyed the message to the Israeli Embassy, which covers New Zealand. Foreign Minister Winston Peters is writing to his Israeli counterpart directly.

“As I have said from the outset, New Zealand urges all sides to pull back from violence, observe international law, and allow international facilitators and mediators a chance to put a peace process together.

“Hezbollah must stop its attacks, and Israel must stop its disproportionate response which is striking civilians, infrastructure and UN personnel and posts,” Helen Clark said.


ENDS

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