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New Zealand PM says UN seat a win for small states

17 october 2014, 10:35
0
Prime Minister John Key. ©Reuters
Prime Minister John Key. ©Reuters

 New Zealand's election to the UN Security Council is a victory for small states that shows chequebook diplomacy is not needed to win a spot at the top table, Prime Minister John Key said Friday,AFP reports.

Key vowed that New Zealand would be a "small country with a loud voice" after securing 145 votes in the 193-nation General Assembly to win one of five coveted non-permanent seats on the council, after a tight race against Turkey and Spain.

He said he was pleased a nation of just 4.5 million people with modest resources could win, amid concerns in recent years about wealthy nations pledging tens of millions of dollars in aid to developing nations in return for support.

"We just can't write out cheques to get ourselves on the Security Council... we didn't throw a lot of money at it," Key told reporters.

"We just put on display the credentials of New Zealand, which is a country that's seen as an honest broker, someone that stands up for what's right."

The conservative leader said New Zealand's success should encourage other small nations to run for a seat on the council, the UN's top body, with powers that include authorising the use of force, imposing sanctions and launching war crimes prosecutions.

"I would have thought that there's some solidarity from the Caribbean states, the Pacific states, other countries which are small but at some point might want to have a go," he said.

Key argued that residual goodwill from New Zealand's last stint on the council in 1993-94 -- when it broke ranks with the major powers to argue unsuccessfully for early UN intervention to prevent the Rwanda genocide -- was an important part of its success in Thursday's vote.

He said New Zealand was convinced that a diplomatic solution was needed to address one of the major issues currently facing the Security Council, the Islamic State (IS) organisation, which is facing a US-led aerial bombardment in Iraq and Syria.

"We don't accept the things that they (IS) are doing or the particular form of Islam that they're preaching but nevertheless, diplomacy always has an important role to play if you ultimately want to find long-term solutions," he said.

Key said New Zealand's security council membership would not affect deliberations on whether the country would offer military support to the US-led air war, which has been dubbed "Operation Inherent Resolve".

"It won't be influenced by the council, we're not rushing that decision," he said.

New Zealand's two-year term on the council beings in January.

Angola, Malaysia and Venezuela also won seats in the vote -- their candidacies had been put forward by their region and they ran unopposed on their slates.


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