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John Key Blames the UN for 'Falling Short' on Syria

He also used his UN speech to praise Helen Clarke. "She gets things done," he said.
September 21, 2016, 12:00am

John Key getting real. Photo via Flickr

Ahead of his chairing of the United Nations debate on Syria on Wednesday (New York time), John Key has given a speech chastising the UN for "falling short."

New Zealand's Prime Minister encouraged the UN to extend the ceasefire recently brokered by the United States and Russia, and also seek a longterm solution for Syria. This plea comes just a day after a UN convoy delivering humanitarian supplies near Aleppo was targeted in an airstrike, an attack the US is blaming on Russia.

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Not even the UN system itself was beyond Key's critique as he went on to accuse the five permanent members of the Security Council (Russia, USA, China, France, and the UK) of exploiting its veto rights. New Zealand's two-year term on the council ends in December.

"The time for moving forward on Security Council reform is now. We will be pushing more than ever for action in the General Assembly to make the Council better reflect today's realities and needs," Key said.

This is likely a warning for the P5 regarding tomorrow's Middle East conflict resolution session, which is already looking futile considering the ongoing power struggle between the US and Russia regarding the recent airstrikes.

Key also addressed North Korean missile tests, the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, and even threw in a reference for former NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark, as she continues her campaign for UN Secretary-General. Given the ongoing global crises, he said, this was appointment was no time for "business as usual."

"The next Secretary-General must have the courage, experience and skills necessary to lead this organisation, to keep it relevant and responsive," Key argued. "I've worked across the political divide from Helen Clark for years and I know her to be a natural leader.

"She gets things done. We think it's time for a Secretary-General like Helen Clark."