WikiLeaks cable: Approach to NZ on Israel/JUSCANZ

Photo / Mark Mitchell
Photo / Mark Mitchell

This is one of the diplomatic cables about New Zealand held by Wikileaks.

March 27, 2006

Classified By: Ambassador William McCormick, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Summary: As requested reftel, Ambassador McCormick and the Australian and Canadian High Commissioners called on Foreign Minister Peters to urge that New Zealand support Israeli membership in the Geneva JUSCANZ group. Peters promised to discuss the issue with Prime Minister Clark, and we are hopeful GNZ's position will change. As Peters is on travel again this week, Post will follow up with Foreign
Ministry staff. End Summary.

2. (C) When post received reftel, Foreign Minister Winston Peters was on travel and our Australian and Canadian counterparts had not yet been issued instructions from their respective capitols. In order to get more background on GNZ's position, Pol-Econ Counselor quietly raised the issue on March 10 with Val Meyer, Director of the Human Rights Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Meyer said that New Zealand officials were making a stand as a point of principle. They view JUSCANZ as a group of "like-minded" countries united on Human Rights issues, and believe Israel is not sufficiently "like-minded", she said.

NZ's Geneva rep has also reported that other JUSCANZ members were opposed to Israel's joining JUSCANZ, but as these members are from small delegations they haven't spoken up. (Meyer declined to name the countries.) She admitted that Ministers had given clear guidance to the Geneva rep that NZ should not continue to block Israel's admission if there is consensus among other JUSCANZ members that Israel should join.

3. (C) Meanwhile, DCM discussed our concerns with Hamish Cooper, Minister Peter's Private Secretary. Cooper pushed back a bit, but seemed very interested to learn that NZ was apparently isolated in its views.

4. (C) On March 25, the Ambassador called on Minister Peters, together with Australian High Commission John Dauth and Canadian High Commissioner Penny Reedie. The Ambassador raised the general issue of anti-Israel discrimination in the UN. Dauth, who has just come to Wellington following a term as Australia's UN Perm Rep in New York, gave a number of examples, including the UN Racism Conference in South Africa.

The COMs also indicated that New Zealand is effectively standing alone in strongly opposing Israel's membership in JUSCANZ.

5. (C) Peters said he would discuss the matter with the Prime Minister. He implied he did not think New Zealand would have a problem with changing its stance. Post is hopeful we may see a change in the policy, although as Peters is now again on travel things may slip a bit. We will
continue to follow up with MFAT staff and report back on GNZ's decision once it is taken.


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