New Zealand has joined other Western countries denouncing the killing of the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans at their diplomatic post in Benghazi.
The ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and the other Americans were killed after Islamist gunmen attacked the US consulate and a safe house refuge in Benghazi on Tuesday night. The attackers were part of a mob blaming America for a film they said insulted the Prophet Mohammad.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully today extended New Zealand's condolences to the American people and the US Government over the loss of life.
"We are shocked and saddened by this attack on the US post, and by the death of the US Ambassador to Libya and three other US personnel," McCully said in a statement.
"New Zealand strongly condemns these acts of violence and sends our thoughts to the families, colleagues and friends of those killed.
"As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has noted, this was an attack by a small and savage group and not by the people or Government of Libya."
McCully said New Zealand is committed to working with its friends and partners, including the United States, in pursuit of a more stable and democratic Libya.
Other Western countries have denounced the Benghazi killings and Russia has expressed deep concern, saying the episode underscored the need for global cooperation to fight "the evil of terrorism."
President Barack Obama has branded the killings an "outrageous attack" and has vowed to track down the perpetrators, while ordering a tightening of diplomatic security worldwide.
Labour Leader worked with ambassador
Labour Leader David Shearer has also expressed his sincere
sympathy and regret to the family, friends and colleagues of Chris
"I worked with Chris in Jerusalem and we saw a lot of each other socially through shared friends. He was a fantastic, easy-going guy with an incredible passion for the Middle East," Shearer said in a statement..
"His relaxed style made him fun to be around and a different kind of diplomat. He will be missed.
"I'd like to pass on my condolences to all those who knew Chris and to the families of the three other US embassy staff who died in the attack.
"I'd also like to express my sympathy to the American people who have lost a much respected and admired diplomatic representative," Shearer said.
- With Reuters