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Use Aussie relationship to promote initiatives on Syria

Foreign Affairs Spokesperson

30 August 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT

Use Aussie relationship to promote initiatives on Syria

New Zealand should use its close relationship with Australia to promote initiatives within the UN Security Council to respond to the crisis in Syria, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Phil Goff.

“On Monday, Australia assumes presidency of the Security Council at a critical time. The Council is currently deadlocked over disagreement on a resolution authorising countries to take all necessary means in response to use of chemical weapons in Syria.

“What we need are effective alternatives to that resolution addressing both the war crimes being committed by the use of chemical weapons and the wider conflict which has caused 100,000 deaths 2 million refugees and immense suffering.

“The opportunity exists for us to channel ideas through our Australian partners.

“One specific suggestion that New Zealand could be promoting is a resolution requiring all UN member states to immediately cease providing weapons and funding military assistance to the combatants on both sides in Syria.

“As an even-handed measure, applying to Russia and to Saudi Arabia, this would be much harder for any permanent member on the Council to veto with any credibility. The chemical weapons attack makes such a resolution timely and urgent.

“It would be more useful as an effective first step to ending the conflict than a resolution allowing a military strike, which may broaden rather than narrow the conflict.

“We should learn from history and not repeat the mistakes made in Iraq and Libya where today thousands continue to be killed,” Phil Goff says.


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