Murray McCully: End UN veto privilege

Foreign Minister Murray McCully has outlined ambitious plans for change as New Zealand prepares to take a month-long presidency of the UN Security Council.

The agenda includes getting Israel and Palestine back to the negotiating table and lobbying for the end of the veto right, which has stopped the UN from intervening in some of the worst conflicts in recent history.

The right to veto intervention and resolution has left the UN Security Council powerless in the face of many deadly conflicts over the decades. Most recently Russia and China used the veto during the ongoing Syrian conflict. Russia also used the veto in Crimea, while the United States exercised it during conflict in the West Bank.

But the New Zealand Government wants to use what influence it has to support efforts to end the veto privilege.

"France have put forward an idea that they should all voluntarily surrender the veto by agreement in areas where mass atrocities arise, and we think that is a really good idea," says Mr McCully. "It doesn't involve anything binding. It's something the P5 members should think about."

The ambitious plans don't end there. Mr McCully says he also want to see peace talks restarted between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

"I think the two parties could make surprising progress, but you have to get them in a room and that's been the problem; they haven't sat in a room and had direct talks."

That leaves one issue closer to home – getting a louder voice for our Pacific Island neighbours. None have ever been elected to the Security Council, despite small island nations making up 20 percent of the UN membership.

"We'll hold an event, which will give them a chance to talk about the security issues affecting them," says Mr McCully.

That will include climate change and the foreign plundering of natural resources like fishing stock. And the agenda has the support of Labour.

"We can put some of the issue on the agenda now, particularly the smaller island states, and we can revisit it in our next presidency next year, which will be in September, which is a really strategic time," says David Shearer.

Mr Shearer says it's a tough assignment facing our diplomats, and judgement as to whether an impact has been made should only be considered at the end of the New Zealand's two-year term.

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source: newshub archive