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New Zealand To Contribute To UN Mission In Iraq

Hon Mark Burton
20 September 2002

New Zealand To Contribute To UN Mission In Iraq

UNMOVIC function is to ensure Iraq’s compliance with Security Council resolutions should inspections resume.

“Our contribution to UNMOVIC, approved yesterday by the government, is consistent with the government’s disarmament objectives and support for multilateral efforts to bring Iraq into compliance with its obligations towards Security Council resolutions,” Helen Clark and Mark Burton said.

“New Zealand is able to provide up to 10 medical and communications personnel. The Chief of the Defence Force and his staff are now working through the options to meet this requirement.

“A NZDF member will travel to Vienna in early October to participate in the UNMOVIC basic training course. This person will then train those selected for deployment.

Mr Burton said the deployment will mark New Zealand’s first exercise with UNMOVIC since it was established in December 1999 to replace the former UN Special Mission (UNSCOM).

“Its mandate is to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction and to operate a system of ongoing monitoring and verification to check Iraq’s compliance with its obligations not to acquire again weapons prohibited by the Security Council.”

New Zealand provided up to 14 NZDF staff officers, medical and communications personnel to UNSCOM from 1991 until the end of its operation in 1999. It also provided a weapons inspector for a short-term assignment.

“We are very proud of the professional job undertaken by defence personnel in sometimes difficult circumstances,” Mr Burton said. “I know that their successors, if they deploy to UNMOVIC, will undertake their duties with the same dedication and professionalism.”

ENDS

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