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Government to continue working with Red Cross despite disagreement over case of Kiwi nurse taken by ISIS - Ardern

The Prime Minister says she's not commenting on whether or not she believes the New Zealand nurse kidnapped in Syria more than five years ago is still alive, "for very good reason".

However, the Government and Red Cross will continue their good relationship and working closely despite differing standpoints on the Louisa Akavi case, Jacinda Ardern told TVNZ1's Breakfast today.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) yesterday acknowledged that one of seven aid workers abducted by gunmen in Syria in 2013 was the New Zealand nurse who is still missing. It's believed Ms Akavi was held by ISIS.

The ICRC pleaded for information about Ms Akavi, 62, who was taken along with six others, four of which were released the next day, while she was delivering medical supplies to hospitals. 

Prior to yesterdays announcement, the Red Cross, the Government and several New Zealand media outlets and journalists had kept the case quiet for fear of Ms Akavi's safety.

Yesterday, Ms Ardern said it was the Government's viewpoint that the case should have been kept out of the public, but the Red Cross claimed they had the Government's support going public.

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    Ms Akavi is thought to have been held by ISIS since being abducted in Syria in 2013. Source: Q+A

    Ms Ardern has a different version of events - telling Breakfast this morning that the Red Cross came out with information about Ms Akavi without the Government's endorsement, but that the two groups would continue their good working relationship.

    "From our perspective we've been clear the entire time and our position was this wasn't a case we wanted in the public domain," she said. "They already knew our position, we knew theirs ... us knowing their plans certainly wasn't a change in position for us."

    Ms Ardern said, while she disagreed with the Red Cross' decision to go public, "I wouldn't want that to undermine what has been years of collaboration and coordination and really good work, and nor would I want it to undermine our relationship which is important to us."

    When asked if she believed Ms Akavi was alive, she said, "I'm not commenting for very good reason."

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      The PM discussed the differing standpoints about the handling the case of Louisa Akavi, the Kiwi nurse abducted in Syria. Source: Breakfast