March 05, 2014
Peters urges independent line on Ukraine
New Zealand First leader and former foreign affairs minister Winston Peters is warning that New Zealand should not get swept up in anti-Russian sentiment over the crisis in Ukraine.
Current minister Murray McCully has called on parties to exercise restraint, but says the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine must be respected and maintained.
Negotiations for a free trade agreement with Russia were suspended.
Russia authorised its troops to go into its neighbour after weeks of protest in capital Kiev led to the collapse of its pro-Russian government.
Mr Peters says New Zealand should look to its own strategic interests.
"What the Russians have done cannot be excused but what have they done any more than some countries that got involved in for example the invasion of Iraq without the agreement of the United Nations?"
"So things come back to bite you sometimes, and I would caution foreign affairs and our Government to be ultra-cautious where we position ourselves and not hopefully position ourselves merely to get on the Security Council."
"We’ve got to stand for greater principles than that," he says.
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