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Cablegate: New Zealand Prime Minister and Foreign Minister

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L WELLINGTON 000641

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/ANP AND PM/RSAT

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/30/2014
TAGS: PREL OPDC MOPS MARR IZ NZ
SUBJECT: NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER AND FOREIGN MINISTER
MAKE HELPFUL STATEMENTS RE HOSTAGE-TAKING IN IRAQ

REF: STATE 161899

Classified By: Pol/Econ Counselor, Timothy Zuniga-Brown, for reasons 1.
5 (B/D)

1. (C) Post delivered reftel talking points and statement to
the GNZ, but was careful to acknowledge the GNZ's clearly
stated position that New Zealand is NOT/NOT a member of the
Coalition. New Zealand has consistently indicated that the
presence of 61 NZ military engineers in Basra is in
fulfillment of its responsibilities as a UN member to UN
Security Council resolutions (including 1483).

2. (U) New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark implicitly
criticized the Philippine government July 27 for withdrawing
its contingent from Iraq after one of its citizens was taken
hostage. PM Clark told local media July 27 that "if you
allow yourself to be pushed around like that, you simply
invite hostage-taking." Clark noted that she had
consistently told New Zealanders that if they went to Iraq
and were kidnapped the GNZ would not help them.

3. (U) NZ Foreign Minister Phil Goff told local media that
giving in to hostage-takers' demands only made kidnappings
more likely. Goff said he could "understand the angst the
Philippine government felt, but it's a matter of long
practice and common sense that, when the demands of
terrorists are acceded to, then their activities are
encouraged, not diminished." He added that if a New
Zealander were held hostage, the GNZ would do all it could to
negotiate for the hostage's well being but would not bow to
terrorist demands. Goff pointed out that "if the
consequences are, in saving one life, that it results in the
loss of dozens of other lives, then that clearly was not the
right decision to take." Goff made similar remarks to the
media at a recent joint press event with Australian Foreign
Minister Downer.
Swindells

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