Israel returns ambassador to New Zealand, ending diplomatic rift

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On June 4 Israel said it was returning its ambassador to Senegal, after recalling him over the UN Security Council resolution.

Speaking to the Herald in the Cook Islands, Brownlee said Netanyahu had instructed his foreign ministry to "end the stand-off with New Zealand".

Israel's prime minister says the diplomatic crisis with New Zealand over a United Nations resolution condemning Israeli settlements is over.

Following five months of frozen ties between the two nations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his counterpart in New Zealand, Bill English, spoke on the phone several days ago in an effort to fix relations.

Israel and New Zealand will restore ties after a row over Wellington's backing of a United Nations resolution in December condemning Israeli settlement building, a statement said on Tuesday (June 13).

"We welcome the return of Israel's ambassador to Wellington", he added.

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Shortly after assuming his post as the country's new foreign minister, Gerry Brownlee penned a letter of his own to Netanyahu regarding his aspirations to see the relationship between New Zealand and Israel restored.

"It was a clarification of the fact that we remain good friends of Israel". Israel condemned the resolution as a "victory for terror".

"First and most importantly, as I said in our conversation, I regret the damage done to relations between New Zealand and Israel as a result of New Zealand's co-sponsorship of UNSC resolution 2334", English wrote in his letter. "All I'm going to say is that we regret the fallout".

Green Party foreign affairs spokesman Kennedy Graham said English's apology showed that New Zealand did not have an independent foreign policy.

"These illegal settlements make it harder and harder for there to be peace between the Israelis and Palestinians".

The resolution, which was also sponsored by Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela, said Israeli settlements violated worldwide law and undermined a two-state solution in Israel's conflict with Palestine.