New Zealand to defer on Japan whaling case

Dec. 15, 2010 at 12:44 PM
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CANBERRA, Australia, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- New Zealand says it won't join legal action against Japan over its whaling in the Southern Ocean but will still try to persuade Japan to end it activities.

Although New Zealand will not be filing as a party to the legal action being brought by Australia, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said the New Zealand government remains a strong partner of Australia in the bid to end Japan's scientific whaling program, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Wednesday.

New Zealand will make submissions to the International Court of Justice in support of Australia's case, Rudd said.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said Australia indicated it would prefer New Zealand not file as a party to the action, as such a move would result in Australia losing its entitlement to appoint a judge to the case because New Zealand already has a judge on the International Court of Justice.

New Zealand will continue its efforts to convince Japan to stop whaling in the Southern Ocean, McCully said.

Darren Kindleysides, director of the Australian Marine Conservation Society, says New Zealand must back up Australia's position.

"They need to be very clear, starting with this announcement today, that they are foursquare behind Australia's case," he said.

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