UN head Ban meets with PM Key

SIMON DAY
Last updated 12:04 02/09/2014
Stuff.co.nz

Prime Minister John Key has met with United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, to discuss New Zealand's place on the UN Security Council.

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United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, met Prime Minister John Key during his visit to New Zealand to accept an honorary doctorate from the University of Auckland.

Ban and Key discussed the upcoming election in Fiji, the situation in the Middle East, including recent conflict in Gaza, the violence in Ukraine and climate change.

"We are living in an era of instability and upheaval," Ban said this morning.

"We need strong support and coordination and solidarity of all member states of the UN."

As New Zealand bids for a seat on the UN Security Council, Ban expressed his gratitude for New Zealand's role as an original member of the UN and its humanitarian record.

"New Zealand has been playing a very important role and you have been very generous and strongly committed in your peacekeeping and development of human rights," he said.

The secretary-general would not comment on the potential success of New Zealand's push for a seat the Security Council, which will be decided in October. But he acknowledged New Zealand's long support for the UN.

"I am aware that New Zealand is very enthusiastic to serve in the Security Council. As you may appreciate as the secretary-general I am not in a position to say anything.

"This is a matter to be decided by the member states themselves," he said.

"I am aware about how actively you have been engaging and how actively you have been contributing to peace and security and development and human rights issues since 1945."

The pair also discussed New Zealand's planned ratification of the UN Arms Trade Treaty, regulating the international trade in conventional arms.

"I appreciate your strong commitment for disarmament. I hope this will be able to be effected by the end of this year with your country's ratification," he said.

Asked about Key's moral backing of the United States air strikes against the terrorist group the Islamic State in Iraq that have been done without UN support, Ban said he supported actions to first and foremost protect human life.

"The situation in Iraq is very worrisome. This terrorist activities by ISIS is totally unacceptable by international human rights and international humanitarian law.

"The international community must show solidarity. Not a single country or organisation can handle this international terrorism, this is global concerns," he said.

Key, who has been campaigning around the world for New Zealand's seat at the Security Council, took the chance to emphasise the country's commitment to the UN since it was established in 1945. And despite New Zealand's size, its contribution to the international community has always been recognised.

"We are a small country but we have held an independent foreign policy and a strong voice for a very long period," Key said.

"We are consistent in what we do and I think people respect the views of New Zealand.

"We want to thank you for your friendship to New Zealand," he said to Ban.

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- Stuff

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