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Goverment rejects Greens' sophistry on Gaza crisis

Hon Murray McCully
Minister of Foreign Affairs

3 January 2009

Media Statement

Goverment rejects Greens' sophistry on Gaza crisis

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully today rejected Green Party criticism of the government's position on the Gaza crisis, and reiterated the need to be "even-handed" in dealing with the situation.

Mr McCully said the criticism from Green Party spokesman Keith Locke that the government has not released a press statement on the Gaza conflict was "pure sophistry."

"I have been available to every news media outlet in the country that has sought comment on the issue from the outset. The idea that a crafted press release is somehow more powerful than my own words carried by television, radio and the print media is frankly absurd.

"Like the European nations whose comments Mr Locke has labelled "insipid", and the United Nations, and the European Union, the New Zealand government has called on both sides of the Gaza conflict to accept an immediate ceasefire.

"That has been our position from the beginning and remains our position today.

"The New Zealand government is not prepared to choose sides in the conflict in the manner that Mr Locke suggests. Both sides need to step back from the brink. Israel must cease attacks on Palestinian targets and Hamas must cease the flow of mortar bombs and rockets into Israel.

"One-eyed and angry assertions like those from Mr Locke will bring us no closer to a solution, nor will they save innocent lives, " Mr McCully said.

ENDS

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