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As Australia Vies for UN Council Seat, New Zealand Means Too Much CANZ?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 26 -- For months Australia's Permanent Representative Gary Quinlan has been everywhere at the UN in New York, campaigning against Finland and Luxembourg for two seats on the Security Council for 2013-14.

  Now that New Zealand has announced its campaign for a seat in the following two years, 2015-16, so far opposing Spain and Turkey, some wonder if this might have any impact on countries' votes.

  As one diplomat, well placed Friday in the UN's North Lawn Building, told Inner City Press, "It might be too much CANZ." This refers to the Canada, Australia and New Zealand grouping.

  Could Australia then New Zealand represent their region on the Security Council for four consecutive years?

  Or might New Zealand's candidacy, called credible by range of diplomats interviewed by Inner City Press, give secret ballot voters in October a rationale to go with Finland and Luxembourg, saying they'll look to the eastern part of the Western Europe and Other Group (WEOG) a mere two years later?

  In the interim the good-natured Quinlan has been in the General Assembly lobby delivering a speech on indigenous rights to a crowd angry when food and drink was cut off.

 He has presided over the General Assembly during a session to condemn Syria, having studied up and prepared for the variety of procedural motions that his Syrian counterpart Bashar Ja'afari was predicted to raise and did. (Quinlan even dealt with some sound system issues during that high-pressure session.)

  Quinlan has made Australia's case, as a country with ever increasing diversity, a piece of the West in the East, with a knowledge of peacekeeping, using Timor Leste as his example.

  Finland too has been working hard at UN Headquarters, posting peacekeepers in camouflage for two weeks at the entrance to the General Assembly, handing out chocolate bars emblazoned with the face of Martti Ahtisaari. Finland's Permanent Representative went beyond the UN to appear at an event in Chelsea about new Finnish design.

  Luxembourg's campaign has been less visible in New York, other than its Permanent Representative speaking publicly about Peacebuilding and appearing at every open Security Council debate. But as Quinlan has remarked, Luxembourg has engaged in the ground game, visiting capitals. Others allude to promises of aid, a traditional way to garner votes.

Will Australia have to further pick up its game, or respond in some way, to New Zealand's 2015 candidacy? Watch this site.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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