Key rules out sending troops to Iraq

  • 17/06/2014

Prime Minister John Key has ruled out New Zealand military intervention in Iraq, barring an unlikely United Nations Security Council mission.

Mr Key, who is in the United States on a four-day tour, told media that New Zealand wouldn't send SAS troops to Iraq in a training role, or troops in a non-combat role, as Sunni militants approach Iraq.

"I don't see New Zealand overly getting tied up in that. That wouldn't be something we'd want to do," he said at a visit to the September 11 memorial site in New York.

"You never say never: in a world where the Security Council decides that Iraq needs support of some sort, - engineers, whatever it might be - that could always be considered, but I think that's very unlikely."

Mr Key said New Zealand's most likely intervention would be some humanitarian aid, which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is considering.

"We've done that in places like Syria, but I don't see our involvement in Iraq being any greater than that."

He said he didn't agree with suggestions that failing to stop Sunni militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, could put the West at greater danger of terrorist attacks.

"I think it's a very serious situation for people on the ground in Iraq, but I'm not sure it spreads its wings overseas just at this point."

David Cunliffe says the Labour Party backs Mr Key's decision not to get involved.

"We said we would only respond to a UN Security Council mandate for any humanitarian assistance," he said on Firstline this morning.

"We are a loyal and active member of the international and the UN. If there's a UN operation and it's non-combat down the track, then that is something we could consider."

Mr Key is lobbying for votes to get New Zealand onto the UN Security Council. He is scheduled to have lunch with former President Bill Clinton.

NZN / 3 News

source: newshub archive