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WikiLeaks: NZ urges UN Security Council reform

WikiLeaks cable: NZ urges UN Security Council reform

October 28, 2004 NZ urges UN Security Council reform, but safeguards its own candidacy



1. (SBU) The Government of New Zealand is strongly in favor of UN Security Council reform, but is averse to discussing its, proposed changes. The GoNZ has submitted a discussion paper on the topic to the SG's High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change.

2. (SBU) In his opening speech to the UNGA on September 21, Foreign Minister Phil Goff advocated UNSC reform, noting that an expanded Security Council and "reform of outmoded electoral groupings is necessary for the Council to be representative of the international community as it is today." He also alluded to a need to expand the representation of Asia, Latin America and Africa, and to note the contributions of specific nations (i.e. Japan) to the UN. Poloff followed up with Wen Powles, Deputy Director, United Nations and Commonwealth Division, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), who noted that the GoNZ has proposed expanded elected membership and changes to permanent membership. Powles was hesitant to provide further details until the High Level Panel responds to the GoNZ recommendations.

3. (C) In his UNGA speech, Goff specifically mentioned support for Japan's inclusion as a permanent member on the UNSC. Powles noted that the original draft of the speech had included more specific recommendations, but in the interest of maintaining New Zealand's neutrality, Goff had walked back from including these. Powles explained that NZ was hesitant to publicly support specific candidates, fearing backlash from other countries. Powles referenced possible candidate countries India, Brazil and Germany, but reiterated that New Zealand was not prepared to support candidates, due to a fear of being seen as partisan.

4. (C) Comment: NZ may be advocating an expanded membership as a mechanism to constrict the perceived dominance of the UNSC by the 5 veto powers. This is likely not specifically aimed at limiting US influence, but is in keeping with NZ's view of the UN as an egalitarian organization and a desire to see more representation of Asia-Pacific countries on the Council. Overall, New Zealand's cautious approach to announcing proposed reforms may be related to their announcement October 1 to WEOG members that they will seek a two-year term on the UNSC in 2015-2016. An early indication of support for specific candidate countries could negatively impact both NZ's candidacy and their overall policy of working with as wide a range of UN member countries as possible. Swindells


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