Jewish tributes on New Zealand leader's itinerary

19th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

19 April 2005, WELLINGTON - New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, who still awaits an official apology from Israel for sending Mossad secret service agents to her country in search of a false passport last year, has included visits to two Jewish monuments on the itinerary for her coming trip to Poland and Germany.

19 April 2005

WELLINGTON - New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, who still awaits an official apology from Israel for sending Mossad secret service agents to her country in search of a false passport last year, has included visits to two Jewish monuments on the itinerary for her coming trip to Poland and Germany.

Clark, who arrived in Bangkok en route to Europe on Tuesday, left New Zealand a week after suspending one of her former cabinet ministers for saying that he was "sick and tired" of hearing how many Jews were gassed in the Holocaust.

She sent backbench Member of Parliament John Tamihere, 45, on stress leave after his comment in a magazine interview "How many times do I have to be told and made to feel guilty?" had been attacked in Israel and by Jewish groups in New Zealand.

New Zealand and Israeli officials are locked in on-going sensitive negotiations on restoring full diplomatic relations between Tel Aviv and Wellington which Clark suspended after the two Mossad agents were jailed for six months for stealing the identity of a tetraplegic man to obtain a false New Zealand passport.

The pair were deported after serving about two months of their sentence and the New Zealand government is demanding a formal apology, a formal acknowledgment that they did work for Mossad, an explanation of what they were doing and an assurance it will not happen again.

Clark said in February that Israel had asked New Zealand through diplomatic channels for talks on restoring full relations and these have not yet reached agreement.

Clark will arrive in Warsaw on Wednesday night for an official visit in which she will hold talks with her counterpart Marek Belka and open New Zealand's first embassy in Warsaw.

After flying to Krakow on Friday she will visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and lay flowers at two sites.

Speaking to New Zealand's Jewish community last week after Tamihere's comments, Clark said: "My message is that the Holocaust is genocide - it was one of the most repugnant and ferocious events of human history and I am very concerned at the pain caused to them and to others that suffered in the Holocaust by thoughtless comments."

Clark flies from Poland to Turkey where she will attend 90th anniversary commemorations of New Zealand and Australian troop landings at Gallipoli and will then arrive in Berlin on the night of 27 April to start a two-day visit.

In between talks with chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and foreign minister Joschka Fischer the next day, she will visit the Jewish Museum on Lindenstrasse.

DPA

Subject: German news

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