15 Apr 2018

National supports PM's 'strong statement' on chemical warfare

9:17 pm on 15 April 2018

The National Party says it supports the Prime Minister's condemnation of chemical warfare.

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National Party spokesperson for foreign affairs Todd McClay said he hoped New Zealand would continue to be outspoken on the issue. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Last night, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she understood and accepted why military action on the city of Damascus was necessary.

"Ultimately no one wants to be in this situation, the use of chemical weapons in this case is absolutely abhorrent, we have strongly condemned it," she said.

National Party spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Todd McClay said Ms Ardern had sent a powerful message.

"The government has made a strong statement and the National Party supports that."

He said it was important for all parties to unite in their condemnation of the Syrian government which had "brutally murdered their own citizens with gas".

Mr McClay said he hoped the New Zealand government would continue to be outspoken on the issue.

"It will be important for the government and particularly the Prime Minister to continue to condemn the use of these weapons in Syria and to, in the very strongest possible terms, support the US, France and United Kingdom in the actions they are taking to help hold the Syrian regime to account," he said.

Despite their support for the air strikes, both Mr McClay and Ms Ardern expressed their concern that a peaceful resolution could not have been met.

"Our hope would have been that we could have used the UN Security Council to find resolution, Russia stopped that bid from being possible, so under those circumstances we understand why this action has taken place, we hope though that we can return back to the UN to try and prevent further harm for civilians," said Ms Ardern.

According to Ms Ardern, the US has not asked for any further support from New Zealand.

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