New Zealand Prime MinisterMs Helen Clark said today she had apologised to the UnitedStates for saying that war against Iraq would have been avoidedif a different president was in the White House.
Ms Clark said she had apologised through diplomatic channelsfor any offence created by the comments, which she said werenot intended to malign.
"I became aware that inference had been taken from thatstatement which was not intended. And unless the matter was, inmy judgement, put right by me, that wouldn't be a good thing tolet linger," Ms Clark said.
New Zealand's centre-left coalition government opposesmilitary action against Iraq. It says the threshold for forcehas not been reached and action without United Nations backingsets a dangerous precedent.
]Ms Clark said last month the US-led invasion of Iraq wouldnot have gone ahead if Democrat challenger Al Gore had beatenPresident George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election.
The comments by Ms Clark, who also said early in the war thatit appeared it was not going to plan, were described as"regrettable" by United States' diplomats in Wellington.