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English must confirm if we are standing by our principles

Andrew Little
Leader of the Opposition

14 June 2017

English must confirm if we are standing by our principles over UN resolution

Bill English must tell New Zealand whether we remain in support of the UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory, says Labour Leader Andrew Little.

“After Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee’s evasive answers to repeated questions on Morning Report, Bill English needs to come clean and state very clearly whether New Zealand still supports the UN resolution.

“Resolution 2334 which condemned the settlements (and Palestinian intransigence) was co-sponsored by New Zealand. Its passing was seen as the crowning achievement of our two years on the UN Security Council.

“As a long standing friend of New Zealand, Israel should accept that at times friends have differences.

“It’s proper to have diplomatic relations with Israel and attempt to restore them, but that doesn’t get away from the fact that when that country has committed breaches of international law, we have a right to call them out.

“We need to be standing firm on our principles. Why was Mr Brownlee so unwilling to confirm our continued support for the resolution?

“What’s changed since December when we were proud to have succeeded on the world stage on such an important issue? Bill English needs to be upfront with New Zealand.

“If the Prime Minister has backed down, it would be an affront to many of our key allies - including Europe, the UK and China - who voted for the resolution.

“It was the right thing to do then, which is why Labour unambiguously backed the resolution from the start.

“It remains the right thing to do today. Bill English should tell New Zealand exactly what he said to the Israeli Prime Minister in order for diplomatic relations to be restored,” says Andrew Little.

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