Foreign Minister Murray McCully has lobbied United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over New Zealand's bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council.
Mr McCully acknowledged from Washington that he had raised the issue at a meeting with Mrs Clinton this morning.
"New Zealand well understands that, as a permanent member of the Security Council, the United States doesn't make commitments on those matters in advance, and we deeply respect that. But I did take the opportunity of burnishing New Zealand's credentials briefly in the course of our discussion.
"As part of our ongoing campaign, we are engaged in a tough fight to become a member of the Security Council in 2015 and 2016.
"We think it is very important that smaller countries are able to achieve the opportunity to be represented on the council, and we're very proud of the way in which we've conducted ourselves as a member of the Security Council in the past - probably about 20 years ago - and most recently when we've, I believe, dealt with difficult issues well. And I hope that our credentials there will stand any scrutiny."
Mrs Clinton said the US welcomed New Zealand's bid for a non-permanent seat on the council and while she was non-committal about US support, said the US was "quite admiring of the campaign that is being run".
The meeting follows a Nato summit in Chicago at the weekend and Mrs Clinton said the US had "saluted" New Zealand's leadership in Bamyan Province and the plans it had set in place for an effective transition to Afghan leadership.
"New Zealand's commitment to this critical effort has been exemplary, and we are enormously grateful for the service and sacrifice of the people of your country."
Mr McCully announced this week New Zealand troops would withdraw from Bamyan in 2013, a year earlier than planned.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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