14 Jun 2017

Israel and New Zealand agree to restore diplomatic ties

From Morning Report, 7:17 am on 14 June 2017

Diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Israel have been restored after a letter from the New Zealand government expressing regret at "fallout" from a UN resolution that sparked a six-month political crisis.

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Photo: RNZ / AFP

Israel recalled its ambassador in December after New Zealand co-sponsored a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel's continued settlements. Israel condemned the resolution as a "victory for terror".

The Jerusalem Post has reported Prime Minister Bill English wrote a letter saying that he regretted "the damage done to Israel-New Zealand relations as a result of New Zealand proposing Resolution 2334 at the Security Council".

Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee confirmed diplomatic ties between the two countries had been restored.

"What the letter indicated was that New Zealand wanted to resume diplomatic relations with Israel and regretted that there'd been fallout from the co-sponsorship of the resolution," he told Morning Report.

Mr Brownlee said the letter was a "clarification", rather than an apology, and New Zealand remained "good friends" with Israel.

He made no comment on whether the government regretted backing the resolution that sparked the diplomatic row, but said it was important the relationship was on a good footing.