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McCully denies 'diplomatic blunder' claim

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/04/2017

NZ First leader Winston Peters has accused Foreign Minister Murray McCully of making a "diplomatic blunder" by not seeking Cabinet approval before denouncing Israel in a UN Security Council resolution.

Mr Peters says Mr McCully was expressly required to seek approval from Cabinet before supporting the December resolution, but Mr McCully says his actions were "entirely consistent" with policy.

New Zealand was one of five countries to sponsor the resolution which said Israel's continuing establishment of settlements in Palestinian territory constituted a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution.

The resolution was backed by 14 members of the security council, while the US abstained.

"Mr McCully acted unilaterally on an important international issue," Mr Peters said on Wednesday.

"And this begs the question, why was the Cabinet effectively hijacked on this issue."

But Mr McCully told NZ Newswire the resolution was received on December 22 and voted on in the early hours of December 24.

Its wording was consistent with the country's long-standing policy of supporting a two-state solution as the only pathway to secure and lasting peace, he said.

"Ministers were regularly updated on New Zealand's policy settings regarding situations on the Security Council's agenda, including on the Middle East Peace Process," he said.

"New Zealand's actions in December 2016 were entirely consistent with those policy settings."

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