NZ ready to “reinvigorate the Middle East peace process”

April 24, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key has addressed a Peace Summit in Istanbul declaring that New Zealand, a member of the UN Security Council “stands ready” to “reinvigorate the Middle East Peace Process.

John Key’s full address:

One hundred years ago today, thousands of young New Zealand and Australian soldiers waited anxiously for the orders that would send them ashore in an attempt to secure the Gallipoli Peninsula.

 John Key Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu ahead of the International Peace Summit in Istanbul.  Photo: Twitter

John Key Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu ahead of the International Peace Summit in Istanbul. Photo: Twitter

On shore, Turkish soldiers from their 9th and 19th Divisions waited just as anxiously, prepared to lay down their lives to protect their homeland.

Two days later, 25 April – Anzac Day – thousands of soldiers on both sides were dead or wounded, on the first day of a campaign that would last eight harsh months.

When the forces of the British Empire finally withdrew in December 1915, the Canakkale Land Battles had claimed over 130,000 lives.

Over the next two days, at Anzac Cove, Lone Pine, Chunuk Bair and at Turkish, Commonwealth and Irish, and French services, we will be remembering and honouring all those who served their countries with honour, and who fell at Gallipoli 100 years ago.

When Australian and New Zealand troops landed on the shores of Gallipoli in April 1915, we came to fight a people we knew little of, and with whom we had no real quarrel.

The brutality of the Gallipoli battlefield was undeniable.

But there are also documented examples of acts of kindness and gallantry by soldiers on both sides.

And, from the cauldron of war, an enduring bond between our three countries emerged.

This bond continues to be epitomised by Ataturk’s immortal words of reconciliation to the mothers of the ANZAC fallen.

Gallipoli demonstrates that forgiveness and respect between former adversaries can provide a foundation for the emergence of close, warm ties, in peace.

For New Zealand and Australia, it was at Gallipoli, also, that our young nations began to come of age.

It was from here that we began to think of ourselves as not just parts of the British Empire, but as distinct national entities.

Out of the carnage of Gallipoli, and then Palestine and European campaigns that would follow, our countries emerged with a new sense of certainty about our own destiny and our place in the world.

It was in Gallipoli that the enduring ANZAC bond between New Zealanders and Australians was first forged.

Since then, our soldiers have often served together with many other nations, in international peace-keeping missions across the globe.

For Turkey, too, Gallipoli was a turning point.

The invasion was repelled, albeit at great cost.

The commander responsible for the defence of Gallipoli, Mustafa Kemal, would emerge from the campaign as a national hero.

Within a few short years, he would become Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founding President of the Turkish Republic.

One hundred years on from this defining campaign in our countries’ histories, we are facing security threats of a very different nature.

Drawing much of its strength from the tragic, ongoing conflict in Syria, ISIL has brought this region into chaos.

It has torn people from the land they called home and committed widespread and horrific atrocities.

It revels in publicising its atrocities and inciting fear.

Meanwhile it is also attempting to expand its territory beyond Syria and Iraq and into the wider Middle East region and Africa.

ISIL and its network of affiliates have used the tools of the modern world – social and mainstream media, the internet, freedom and ease of international travel – to broadcast its messages of intolerance, and to demonstrate its unspeakable brutality to the world.

It has tapped into networks thousands of miles from the land it occupies.

It entices foreign fighters and extremists to come to this region and fuel this fire, or otherwise to incite others around the world to commit brutal acts in their own countries.

And because the threat that ISIL represents does not respect borders, all nations – whether they are in the heart of the turmoil, or thousands of miles away – have a role to play in confronting the threat presented by ISIL and other violent extremist groups.

This is as true for New Zealand as it is for all countries here today.

Though thousands of miles from the region, we are a nation of travellers – as evidenced by the thousands of New Zealanders who travel to Turkey each year.

We have close, and important, relations with countries in the Middle East, in Europe and closer to home in the Asia Pacific – where terrorist groups are operating.

We are also a small country with a fundamental interest in supporting stability and the rule of law internationally.

So we believe that countries like New Zealand must play a role, along with others here today, in standing up to the brutality and extremism of ISIL.

We have joined the more than 60 countries in the international coalition facing ISIL.

And, as I speak to you today, New Zealand and Australia are once again preparing to deploy alongside each other.

We are doing so at the request of Iraq to help train and support that country in its fight against ISIL.

And we are doing so to play our part in ensuring ISIL cannot continue to threaten innocent lives.

New Zealand is also doing its bit to try to alleviate some of the region’s humanitarian suffering, caused firstly by the Syrian conflict, and then also by ISIL and other extremist groups as they take advantage of the carnage.

Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and others are bearing the weight of millions of refugees.

This is why we have also provided aid to assist some of those people who have had their lives destroyed in unimaginable ways.

New Zealand’s contributions are modest compared to many others.

But, together, the collective efforts of the international community are slowly starting to bear fruit: ISIL’s successes are waning.

There is still work to do.

We need to ensure that our own people do not travel to the region to exacerbate this conflict.

Alongside many countries, New Zealand has brought in law enforcement and passport control measures to stem the flow of foreign fighters.

We are also playing our part in ensuring ISIL and other violent extremist groups cannot continue to use the benefits of a globalised financial system to fund its murderous campaign.

We know, however, that violent extremism cannot be combatted by security measures alone.

Until we can address the conditions that set the stage for groups like ISIL to rise in the first place, we will continue to see their emergence.

This requires strong political will and sustained commitment at all levels of government.

We need to better understand why some of our people choose a path to violent extremism, and how we can counter the factors that lead to this.

This issue is not unique to the Middle East, or to any single region.

The crimes of Boko Haram in Nigeria and the countries surrounding Lake Chad, and of Al-Shabaab in Somalia and Kenya, are just as grave as those we are witnessing in Iraq and Syria.

Violent extremist groups find traction in times of major societal stress.

To defeat those extremists the international community must promote the cause of inclusive, multi-cultural, multi-religious societies.

There are some other obvious issues in the region that continue to stand in the way of an inclusive peace.

The civil war in Syria is clearly one of them.

We need to redouble efforts towards reaching a political solution to the violent stalemate in Syria.

This has seen over 220,000 killed, and led to more than 3.8 million Syrians fleeing their country.

Moreover, New Zealand also underscores the importance of the Middle East Peace Process for security and stability in the region.

New Zealand has long been a strong supporter of a negotiated, two-state solution as the only real basis for an enduring Israeli-Palestinian peace.

The next few months provide an opportunity to reinvigorate the Middle East Peace Process and to bring the two parties together once more to negotiate a lasting peace.

New Zealand, as a friend of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and as a member of the Security Council, stands ready to work with the two parties and interested countries to advance this issue.

In confronting the challenges of international peace and security, we also need to draw on the established collective security system.

Peacekeeping – with all its imperfections – has shown itself to be a remarkably agile tool.

The increasing reliance on these operations shows just how much stock the international community places in peace operations in maintaining international peace and security.

New Zealand has been a continuous contributor to peace support operations since they were established.

New Zealand has served in over 40 UN-led peacekeeping missions in over 15 countries, with many deployments to this region.

In our own region in recent history, New Zealand has played a leading role in recent peacekeeping operations in Timor Leste, Solomon Islands and Bougainville.

We often deploy alongside and work very closely with Australia, very much in the ANZAC spirit, which remains alive and well to this day.

New Zealand continues to maintain a focus on the security of our neighbours in the Pacific and Asia Pacific.

We continue to look for new opportunities to work with our friends, on building regional capacity to respond to emerging security challenges.

Today we come together to commemorate the sacrifices made by those 100 years ago.

Those individuals – be they Turkish, New Zealanders, Australians, or from any other country – were caught up in the violence a century ago.

One goal they all had in common was a safer and more secure future for their children and grandchildren.

That goal remains as elusive and as challenging for us today as it was for our forebears.

But today, at this International Peace Summit, we have an opportunity – and an obligation – to confirm our dedication to working together in that search for a more peaceful world.


One Response to “NZ ready to “reinvigorate the Middle East peace process””
  1. Gil Solomon says:

    So John Key says: “New Zealand has long been a strong supporter of a negotiated, two-state solution as the only real basis for an enduring Israeli-Palestinian peace. The next few months provide an opportunity to reinvigorate the Middle East Peace Process and to bring the two parties together once more to negotiate a lasting peace.”

    Again, recommending bringing two parties together “once more” for a now defunct “two-state” solution.

    Only in the case of Israel do politicians the world over want to do the same thing over and over again. Only in the case of Israel do they regard that nation’s enemies not as the terrorists they are but as negotiating partners.

    Only when Israel in general and Netanyahu in particular wake up and tells these loons to butt out and then proceed to do what is in its sovereign interests, will the world community cease treating the Jewish nation as a pariah that must be dictated to.

    It is time for Jews in general and Israel in particular to get up off their damn knees.

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