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Key must release Syrian briefings

Phil Goff
Foreign Affairs Spokesperson

29 August 2013

Key must release Syrian briefings

Labour foreign affairs spokesperson Phil Goff is calling on John Key to share with Parliament and the public the briefings New Zealand received overnight on Syria, and to debate New Zealand’s planned response.

“John Key has an obligation to be upfront with New Zealanders,” Phil Goff says.

“The use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime is the latest and worst of the Syrian government’s atrocities against its own people,” he says.

“It cannot be ignored. Effective action must be taken against the regime in response to its blatant disregard for international humanitarian law and its committing of war crimes.

“A military strike on its own, however, will not achieve an end to the Syrian crisis which has taken over 100,000 lives and made more than two million Syrians refugees. It may in fact impede a long term solution.

“Collective action by the UN Security Council is vital to finding an enduring solution and New Zealand should condemn any use of the veto by permanent members of the Council which stands in the way of a collective response.

“The first step by the Council should be to stop all countries providing the arms and financial support that feeds the ongoing conflict. New Zealand should be outspoken in seeking that agreement.

“Allowing the UN weapons inspection team to complete its work, in line with Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s request, makes sense.

“So too does a concerted effort by the Security Council to secure and prevent the use of hundreds of tonnes of stockpiled chemical weapons. A military strike may reduce security around those weapons and increase the risk of them being used.

“We also need to learn the lessons of the past. Ten years after the military invasion of Iraq, over a thousand Iraqi people are still being killed each month in that country.

“The goal must be collective resolve and commitment to stop the conflict, secure the chemical weapons and plan for transition to a new government,” Phil Goff says.

ENDS

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