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Clark rules Kiwis out of action against Iraq
20 August 2002
Prime Minister Helen Clark has ruled out New Zealand becoming involved in United States military action against Iraq.
The Defence Force, meanwhile, has rejected suggestions its personnel - who have been based in the US since late last year - were involved in preparations for a US attack on Iraq.
A report yesterday quoted an unnamed former army officer as suggesting that New Zealand personnel might be involved in such planning.
But Miss Clark said the personnel were the same as those she confirmed last November had been sent to Centcom in Florida where the America-led coalition of international forces had been directing the campaign against Afghanistan and the al Qaeda terrorist organisation.
"They're the ones who've been there from the time we offered to deploy the SAS. That's what they're working on." She said New Zealand's position on an attack against Iraq had not changed.
"We prefer to see the issue of Iraq handled multilaterally through the United Nations, rather than unilaterally through a small set of the UN."
New Zealand military participation in an attack on Iraq was not contemplated, she said. "We don't favour that and we have ruled it out."
Published in the The Dominion Post