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Walk-out at UN weapons conference no surprise to MPs here

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Murray McCully
Murray McCully

Wellington, May 4 NZPA - A walk-out by representatives from New Zealand and other western countries over a speech by Iran's leader at the United Nations Non-Proliferation Treaty conference in New York has come as no surprise to MPs here.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad slammed the United States in a 35-minute speech at the conference today, accusing it of threatening to use nuclear weapons towards his own and other countries.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton challenged Mr Ahmadinejad over his comments, while various diplomats were either appalled or didn't want to hear what he had to say and walked out.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully said today Mr Ahmadinejad had a habit of making inflammatory and offensive comments on such occasions, and that he had told the New Zealand contingent, led by Disarmament Minister Georgina te Heuheu, it was up to them if they wanted to walk out during his speech.

"There was no particular phrase, it was a generally offensive tone. Some accusations against particular countries that were extremely offensive," Mr McCully said.

He said as well as attacking the US, some of the comments had "caused some consternation amongst the Europeans", and most had walked out.

Labour leader Phil Goff also said he wasn't surprised at the response to the speech.

"I can understand why they object to Ahmadinejad, his language is florid, it's over the top. They (Iran) have had a lot of secrecy around the development of their nuclear programme."

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