16 Apr 2024

NZ joins call for Israel not to escalate tensions with Iran

8:24 am on 16 April 2024
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters

Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

New Zealand has urged Israel not to escalate tensions with Iran following the missile and drone attacks over the weekend.

Several other countries, including the US, Britain and France, have urged Israel not to escalate tensions.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters told Morning Report those feelings have been made to the Israeli ambassador in New Zealand.

"This is no time for escalation, it is time for calmness and to realise that noone's going to be a winner here, it's just going to get worse."

New Zealand condemned an Israeli airstrike on an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria, which killed several high ranking officers, he said.

He defended the amount of time it had taken the government to condemn the attack saying it was not immediately clear who was behind it.

"Of course we condemn that action now, because it's actually illegal, but the other point is that there were countless actions from the other side well before that and on an ongoing basis.

"But shouting out who's wrong here will not help. We need a de-escalation and we need it now,' he said.

Peters didn't rule out further sanctions against Iran, but he indicated there were no immediate plans to extend current sanctions.

The Government was also continuing to push for a ceasefire in Gaza, he said.

"The inhumanity and disaster of Gaza has to be attended to as a priority."

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