Prime Minister addresses United NationsPrime Minister
Prime Minister John Key has addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York, focusing on a call for action in Syria and on other conflicts, reform of the veto process and on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The Prime Minister said the UN was the only organisation capable of focusing the world’s attention on the most pressing issues and finding ways to resolve them.
This was the reason New Zealand had fought so hard for a seat on the UN Security Council but Mr Key said real action was too often blocked by internal divisions.
“We cannot afford to let the Council go from an institution with failings to a failed institution,” Mr Key said.
While acknowledging the recent success of the Council in some areas such as the Iran deal, he also criticised some of its working methods, including the use of the veto by the five Permanent Members, saying it too often led to inaction.
Mr Key stressed the importance of Council action on the Syrian conflict.
“More than 160 leaders have shown up in New York this week to mark the enduring importance of the United Nations over the past 70 years,” Mr Key said.
“Yet we do so against the backdrop of the worst refugee crisis since World War II.
“It’s time for the Council to do its duty to those who have lost their lives, their loved ones, and for the millions who have been displaced.”
Mr Key pointed to the long list of other conflicts around the globe including in Yemen and South Sudan, and to the stalled Middle East Peace Process as other areas where the Council needed to lead.
New Zealand would continue to play an active role to try and address such issues for the duration of its time on the Council.
The Prime Minister also praised the adoption of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including the agreement to better protect the world’s oceans and fisheries.