This is one of the diplomatic cables about New Zealand held by Wikileaks.
August 5, 2004
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR PRESSES PM CLARK ON IRAN NUCLEAR ISSUE
Classified By: Ambassador Charles J. Swindells, Reasons 1.5 (B and D)
1. (SBU) Ambassador Swindells met with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark on August 3 to touch base on a number of issues. DCM accompanied as notetaker. The PM was backed by acting Senior Policy Advisor Brook Barrington and Americas Division Director (A/S equivalent) Roy Ferguson.
2. (C) The Ambassador noted the number of questions he had been taking from university and civic group audiences on Iran's nuclear program and pointed to recent press articles highlighting growing concern in New Zealand on the subject.
He explained to the PM that the United States remains very concerned as well, and has been looking to the international community to step up and provide leadership. He applauded New Zealand's recently announced commitments to the Proliferation Security Inititiative and the G-8 Global Partnership, and wondered what role the GONZ saw for itself on Iran. PM Clark replied that New Zealand shared USG concern over developments in the Iran nuclear program, and was looking at how best to bring effective pressure to bear on the Iranians.
She said New Zealand had hoped the European effort would bear fruit, but the Europeans had been disappointed by Iran's subterfuge and hard-line response.
Clark said the Iranian Foreign Minister would be in New Zealand August 23-24, adding that she would use the occasion to deliver "a very strong message." (Comment: The PM did not reveal what other steps New Zealand might take to show leadership on this crucial non-proliferation issue (see reftel). End Comment.)
3. (U) The Ambassador updated the PM on his fund-raising efforts for the Platinum Triangle Scholarship Program under the auspices of Fulbright New Zealand, and thanked her for the GONZ's funding contribution. Clark said she was pleased to see the private sector response to the new scholarship, was delighted with the Embassy's initiative in getting the program going and was happy to have made a contribution. She suggested that the program be announced before the end of August, and offered to participate in the roll-out. The Ambassador said that timing would be perfect, and suggested that it be followed up in January-February, 2005 by a photo opportunity and meeting with as many of the private sector participants as possible. The PM said she would be in New Zealand during that timeframe and agreed it would be good to highlight the public-private nature of the scholarship program. The Ambassador informed the PM that he expected the
first scholarship recipient to be named in April, 2005.
4. (C) The Ambassador and PM discussed the upcoming Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Apia. Ambassador Swindells congratulated PM Clark for the hard, but effective, work New Zealand had done in setting up the PIF secretariat and giving governance issues top priority. The PM said New Zealand had done its best to contribute to progress in the South Pacific, adding that it would now be up to the secretariat to keep
momentum. She expressed concern that secretariat head Greg Urwin had "seemed pretty quiet lately." Clark said she looked forward to meeting with Assistant Secretary Kelly in Apia.
5. (C) On the margins of the meeting, We passed a copy of the MNF Counterterrorism language to policy advisor Barrington, since he was preparing a briefing paper on the issue for the NZ Cabinet. We noted that in light of New Zealand's previously strong public reaction to the
Philippines' pull-out from Iraq, our expectation was that New Zealand would strongly support our message. Barrington agreed that it would look like a climb-down if the GONZ did not publicly support us on this. (Comment: Foreign Minister Goff issued a statement the following day supporting the MNF language (septel). End Comment.)