3 May 2017

Brownlee moves to improve NZ-Israel relations

6:04 pm on 3 May 2017

In one of his first actions as Foreign Minister, Gerry Brownlee has written to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, seeking to restore the two countries' diplomatic relationship.

Benjamin Netanyahu, left and Gerry Brownlee

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left and New Zealand Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee Photo: AFP / RNZ

Israel recalled its ambassador late last year after the United Nations passed a resolution, co-sponsored by New Zealand, calling for a halt to Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories and a cessation of violence.

Mr Brownlee said one of his immediate priorities was to restore the relationship to how it was before that resolution.

"There's a lot of things I think think we'd like to sort out relatively quickly... one of them would be getting back into the sort of relationship we've had with Israel in the past.

"I think that's important because it's a part of the world that continues to be challenged by not only rogue states, but rogue terrorists as well."

Mr Brownlee, who was confirmed in his new role yesterday, has written to Mr Netanyahu congratulating Israel on the 69th anniversary of its independence.

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