NZ's Security Council bid supported

MICHAEL FOX
Last updated 09:56 06/09/2013
John Key
MICHAEL FOX
JOHN KEY: 'They genuinely see us as a friend and the right person top put on the council and also one of their neighbours.'

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Pacific Island leaders have confirmed their support for New Zealand's bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

The support was written into the leader's communique released following the leader's retreat on Eneko Island in the Marshall Islands yesterday.

New Zealand is competing with Spain and Turkey for a seat on the council, which the Government has strongly criticised for its failure to debate military action against Syria.

Key said yesterday he was confident New Zealand had the support of its Pacific partners.

"If you just read the body language and the comments that come from the other leaders they seem very supportive of New Zealand," he said.

"They can see the work that we did when we were last on the council, with Rwanda, and anyway, our association with these countries is a very tightly held bond.

"I can't say they will definitely vote for us - that's one of the beautiful things about a vote on the UN Security Council, you never know who votes for you and who doesn't, but my expectation is that leaders will vote for us because they genuinely see us as a friend and the right person top put on the council and also one of their neighbours."

Having New Zealand on the Security Council, which is currently chaired by Australia, also benefited the Pacific leaders as they had direct access to a council member, he said.

Key also said the blocking of Spain's bid to be a post-dialogue partner at the Forum for another year was not at New Zealand's request.

Spain is at the forum and believed to be lobbying for support for its bid for the UN, and had applied to become an official member of the post-forum dialogue, but the forum leaders decided to push that back for another year.

Key said that decision was not New Zealand's.

"Funnily enough no, we stayed out of it because we have a little bit of a conflict in the sense that we are competing with Spain obviously - and Turkey - and we didn't want to give people the feeling that we were trying to hold Spain out," he said.

"One or two of the countries have particular issues they want to raise with Spain around fishing and they felt they hadn't had actually a chance to resolve those issues with them."

Key said those leaders were not comfortable and had stronger relationships with Cuba, whose bid was approved.

"With Spain they'll probably get there, but they just want to have those discussions about potentially illegal fishing or fishing that they are concerned about from Spanish boats in their waters," he said.

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The elections will by held at the UN General Assembly in New York in October next year.

- Stuff

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