The Green Party supports the decision to send New Zealand mine clearers to Iraq under UN auspices said Keith Locke, the party’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson.
“Cluster bombs now litter the country as a result of the recent US bombing. Our contribution can definitely save lives,” said Mr Locke.
“We have experts in dealing with landmines and unexploded ordinance.
“While there we must defend the right of the UN Mine Action Service to operate independently of the US occupation force.
“It is clear that the Iraqi people want to see the back of the US troops very soon. With our mine-clearers we will help the UN carve out its own role in the rebuilding of this nation.”
Mr Locke said New Zealand must support the integrity of the UN as the best chance for stability in the Middle East region.
“Our contribution must only be through the UN, or through humanitarian agencies, such as the Red Cross, which already contribute to. We cannot assist the American military occupation.
“At the UN we should be publicly support Syria’s Security Council resolution for the Middle East free of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
“If the United States opposes this, because they support Israel having nuclear weapons, it would expose just how serious the Bush administration is about getting rid of weapons of mass destruction.
“America’s whole rationale for the invasion Iraq has crumbled, as it has not found any weapons of mass destruction.
“It is ironic that the main threat to the lives of Iraqi people today are the unexploded bombs dropped from American warplanes,” said Mr Locke.