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France - New Zealand

New Zealand Greenpeace bombings was mistake - Valls

The Rainbow Warrior
The Rainbow Warrior Greenpeace

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls says the Rainbow Warrior bombing that took place 30 years ago was a huge mistake, according to a local radio station.

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According to reports from Radio New Zealand, Valls made the comments on a brief trip to New Zealand - the first visit by a French prime minister for 25 years.

Valls and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key held talks at Auckland Museum earlier today and also had dinner together last night.

In July 1985, French spies detonated two mines attached to the side of the Greenpeace protest ship, Rainbow Warrior, as it sat in dock at Auckland's Marsden Wharf.

The ship sank within minutes, drowning Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira and sparking years of outrage at the French government's actions.

Mr Valls said the relationship between New Zealand and France had been patched up since those events.

"It's true that 30 years ago, our relationship was quite challenging ... that we had made a huge mistake, but I think that we have now turned over a new leaf, our relationship has changed,” RNZ reported.

Mr Valls said the two countries were now committed to looking forward, while remembering the past and never committing the same mistake again.

Mr Key said there was genuine acknowledgement from the French that the bombing was a terrible mistake.

"I'm sure they would never repeat that, they understand the pain and suffering that was undertaken by New Zealanders and the loss of life as a result of their actions.

 

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