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Government must condemn Russia

Todd McClay - Foreign Affairs and Trade

10 September 2018

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern needs to issue an urgent written statement condemning Russia for its involvement in the Salisbury nerve agent attack before we are out of step with our closest friends and allies, National’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Todd McClay says.

“Foreign Minister Winston Peters’ statement simply accepting the ‘conclusions’ of the investigation last week is unacceptable. The Prime Minister must now explain why her Government failed to act more decisively last week before a diplomatic intervention by the British Government was needed.

“The UK was left guessing over our support prompting British Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field to tell media that the British Government ‘very much hope’ that the New Zealand Government would ‘be able to condemn in unequivocal terms, what has happened’ as other countries in the international community had made ‘very robust statements of support.’

“The United Kingdom is one of our closest friends and allies. A United Kingdom Police investigation has now confirmed ‘Russia’s culpability for the heinous military-grade nerve agent attack on UK soil.’

“This attack was an appalling, violent breach of the sovereignty of one of New Zealand’s closest friends. The Government’s written statement on this violent attack falls woefully short and is embarrassing.

“The Prime Minister needs to tidy this mess up quickly and explain why her Government continues to be at odds over its Russia policy.”

ends

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