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Disarmament Minister fights terrorism

24 September 2001 Media Statement

Disarmament Minister fights terrorism


"New Zealand is the only country in the world with a Minister for Disarmament.

"In the wake of last week's horrific terror attacks in the United States, how does the government use this Ministry to fight terrorism?" asks Disarmament Minister Matt Robson at a lunchtime speech at Waikato University today

The speech, The Fight Against Terrorism kick-started the Minister's national tour of University campuses. He condemned the attacks and called for those directly responsible to be brought to justice.

"In the long term we must also make sure that we have the tools available to us on the world stage to eradiate terrorism for good," says Matt Robson.

He called for speedy action by those countries that have signed but have yet to ratify the statute that would see the establishment of an International Criminal Court of Law.

"This court in the future can help to bring individuals responsible for atrocities to justice, without delay."

He asked for student support for the continued struggle to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

"New Zealand has a proud anti-nuclear history. I'm telling you today - that struggle is not yet over. A terrorist group armed with a nuclear weapon is almost too horrifying to contemplate – but we must."

A nuclear weapon free Southern Hemisphere could be a reality in the future, he says.

In the wake of the attacks last week it is even more important to persuade the United States and China of the need to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, says Matt Robson.

"Controlling the illegal trade of small arms is equally important. I represented New Zealand at a United Nations conference on small arms this year, and we voted with most of Europe for a clause calling on all governments not to supply non-state-actors (which includes terrorists).

"Unfortunately the United States did not support that clause. It is hoped that we will have an opportunity to revisit that in the future. In the meantime New Zealand will stand united with other countries in the pursuit to see justice done for last weeks atrocities."

ENDS

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