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Australia's Carr Tells ICP No Assad in Syria, Palestine & Myanmar Only in GA

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 18 -- After Australia won a two-year UN Security Council seat with 140 votes, which foreign minister Bob Carr called a "big, juicy win," Inner City Press asked Carr three questions about what Australia will do with its juicy victory.

  On Syria, Inner City Press asked what Australia will push for when it joins the Council in January. Carr said Australia supports a "ceasefire and political negotiations," and protection of civilians, ambulances and hospitals.

  Inner City Press asked Carr if a solution in which Bashar al Assad remained in power would be acceptable.

  "No," Carr said. Video here, from Minute 7:12.

  Inner City Press asked if Australia supports Palestinian full membership in the UN -- meaning, full membership voted through the Security Council. But Carr answered about less membership, as an Observer state, and said Australia would support that in the General Assembly.

  Carr also referred to the General Assembly rather than Security Council when Inner City Press asked if Australia thinks Myanmar should be on the agenda of the Security Council, given the plight of the stateless Rohingya in the country.

  Carr said that the annual General Assembly resolution on Myanmar should include more "encouragement and acknowledgement" of the country's transition. But what about the Security Council?

Carr gave credit to Australian Permanent Representative Gary Quinlan, with which Inner City Press can vouch. Quinlan worked in it nearly every forum. His estimate to Inner City Press, of 162 votes, was a lot more realistic than Finland's estimate of 165 (Finland got 108 votes in the first round).

   Luxembourg was the dark horse which won, albeit in the second round, its first term on the Security Council. But the country, like Argentina, did not come and speak at the stakeout. Watch this site.

Update: a Friend on Inner City Press made this transcript:

Inner City Press: What are Australia's thoughts on Syria?

FM Carr: Naturally on Syria we support a ceasefire and political negotiations to end this tragic civil war. Which shows signs every day of spilling over into the suffering neighboring countries. We want support for our plan to get protection and in order to have protection under international law, for the ambulances and the hospitals and the medical personnel at the very least, the people of Syria can get the medical aid they need. I discussed this with UN officials yesterday and we see this as a pressing priority at the moment.

Inner City Press: Can you imagine a situation in which Assad would stay?

FM Carr: No.

Inner City Press: Palestine, should they join the UN?

FM Carr: We will consider as a member of the General Assembly a resolution that’s presented on its merits.

Inner City Press: Should Myanmar be in the agenda of the Security Council, particularly given the plight of the Rohingya?

FM Carr : I think the UN GA needs to change the language of the resolution it carries each year on Myanmar to provide more encouragement and more acknowledgment of the progress that country has made as it transitions to democratic norms....

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