Security Council showdown will test John Key

Security Council showdown will test John Key

Prime Minister John Key will mediate a showdown between Russia and the United States in a true test of his political character.

Mr Key will chair a United Nations Security Council meeting at 1am NZT, where both sides will challenge each other over Syria.

Russia and the United States will be represented by Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Both sides will get about seven minutes each at the top of the meeting to lay out their arguments, in which diplomats say anything can happen.

Mr Key will then try and marshal the meeting after that.

"After more than five years of brutal fighting and horrific humanitarian suffering, we do not think it is credible for leaders to come to New York and not address the stark realities driving the conflict," says Mr Key.

It's time now for Mr Key to walk the talk. The problem is the war in Syria is worse than ever right now, symbolised by a convoy delivering aid bombed by the Syrian Government or its Russian backers, making United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon unleash his anger.

"Just when we think it cannot get any worse, the bar of depravity sinks lower."

Mr Key is calling on the Security Council to back the ceasefire negotiated by the US on one side and Russia on the other, even though both have broken it this week.

"That agreement is the best chance we have had in some time to stop the fighting, get aid to those who need it."

The civil war in Syria is now a proxy war for Russia and the United States, and this meeting is a battle within it. Even though the ceasefire has so clearly failed, Mr Key says there is no other option.

"It's really the only game in town at the moment."

Mr Key is putting on a real show for Helen Clark, telling the United Nations she is the only candidate who can keep it relevant.

"She gets things done."

But he is doing much more than that, giving Ms Clark an intro to US President Barack Obama, so she could chase the United States' vote.

"We were all there, the three of us, and we had a bit of a chat and that was great," says Mr Key.

Mr Key is in agreement with Mr Obama's final speech to the UN. They don't like walls.

"Today a nation ringed by walls would only imprison itself," said Mr Obama.

"If you build a wall around the country, it doesn't make it internationally connected; it fundamentally cuts you off from the rest of the world," says Mr Key.

That may mean Mr Key doesn't like US Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump's ideas either.

But that's a fight for another day; right now it is time to warm up for the Security Council.