The Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, gave a 15 minute speech to the General Assembly at the United Nations on Saturday. He made two main points about the Security Council. The first point was about Syria. He said the UN is not doing enough to stop the killings in Syria. He blamed this on the power of veto used by Russia and China. The United Nations wants sanctions against the Syrian government but needs all five permanent members of the Security Council to approve this. Russia and China refused to vote for sanctions.
The other point Murray McCully made was that New Zealand leads the Pacific Island Forum at the moment. We are close to the Pacific countries and are doing a good job of helping them. Mr McCully was trying show that New Zealand would be a good choice as a non-permanent member country of the Security Council for 2015/ 16.
Australia is hoping to be chosen in October this year for non-permanent membership of the Security Council for 2013 and 14.
The Security Council of the UN has 15 members. Five of these are permanent: France, Britain, USA, Russia and China. They can use their power of veto. Ten member countries serve for two years. They cannot veto UN resolutions.
blame them – it is their fault
veto – the right to say ‘No’ to a possible law
sanctions – penalty e.g. refuse to trade with that country
permanent – forever
non-permanent – temporary
approve – say ‘Yes’
resolutions – a court decision
Why does a country (e.g. Australia or New Zealand) want to be a member of the Security Council?