Statement on nerve agent attack in UK

JOINT STATEMENT BY PRIME MINISTER JACINDA ARDERN AND MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS WINSTON PETERS.

New Zealand supports the joint statement made by the leaders of the UK, US, Germany and France on the nerve agent attack in Salisbury.

Outrage at the brazen and callous use of chemical weapons in a UK town is fully justified. This attack left three people seriously injured, including a police officer who assisted at the scene, and potentially threatened many more.

This incident is a serious affront to accepted global rules and norms. The use of chemical weapons in any circumstances is totally repugnant, and New Zealand is deeply disturbed at any use of chemical substances banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention.

New Zealand fully supports the sovereign right of the UK to take the action it considers appropriate in response to this violation of international law on its territory. We stand in solidarity with the UK alongside its other partners.

Despite the further details that have emerged since the NZ government statement earlier this week, and despite the international outcry, the Russian reaction has been cynical, sarcastic and inadequate.

There is no plausible alternative explanation hitherto, that this came from anywhere other than Russia, and no doubt whatsoever that Russia has serious questions to answer.