28 Sep 2013

PM satisfied with Security Council campaign

4:45 pm on 28 September 2013

After almost four days in New York, the Prime Minister says he is satisfied with New Zealand's campaign to win a seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2015-2016 term.

John Key is on his way back to New Zealand having spent his time in New York lobbying other leaders to support New Zealand's bid.

On his final day in New York, Mr Key met the Ethiopian Prime Minister, and foreign ministers from 15 Caribbean island states as part of New Zealand's campaign for a seat on the Security Council.

He announced New Zealand would open a High Commission in Barbados, as New Zealand reaches out to smaller countries for support.

Mr Key says he thinks New Zealand has done everything right.

But he says it faces tough competition from Turkey and Spain for one of two positions on the Council.

Member states will vote in October next year.

Mr Key also met the United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon for a wide-ranging discussion.

Key hopes Syria resolution will work

The Prime Minister also says a Security Council resolution on Syria does not go as far as he had proposed, but he remains hopeful it will ensure the regime's chemical weapons are destroyed.

The council unanimously accepted the resolution at the United Nations in New York on Saturday (New Zealand time).

Mr Key says the proposed resolution lays out clear expectations about the collection and destruction of Syria's chemical weapons but does not go as far as he has hoped.

"It doesn't specifically spell out how it would hold the regime to account but it does do the most important job, which is set out a programme for how chemical weapons would be collected up in Syria, the destruction of those chemical weapons," he says.

"And hopefully a process of ensuring that Syrians are kept safe from weapons which should never be deployed against anybody."

Mr Key says if Syria does not co-operate, the matter would have to go back to the Security Council to decide whether military action should be taken to enforce the resolution.

He says New Zealand has agreed to make a contribution of about $650,000 towards the programme to rid Syria of its chemical weapons.

It will also make a $2 million contribution to humanitarian aid.