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United Nations priorities for early 2013

January 1, 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today said Australia’s United Nations priorities for early 2013 would include talks on the future of international involvement in Syria, and Security Council consideration of responses to the North Korean rocket launch on December 12.

Australia takes up its two-year term on the Security Council from January 1, 2013 (2pm January 2 AEST). Senator Carr said the first substantive meeting of the Security Council would occur in the week beginning January 7.

Issues of significance which the Security Council is expected to address in early 2013 include:

• responses to North Korea’s rocket launch; and
• ongoing conflicts in Mali, the Central African Republic and the Congo.

“For the next two years Australia will have a direct hand in shaping solutions to the world’s most pressing security challenges,” Senator Carr said.

“We’ll bring to the Council our unique experience in dealing with humanitarian crises and regional conflicts, born from past involvement in conflicts including Timor Leste, Bougainville and Afghanistan.”

Senator Carr said Australia would pursue a further UNSC response to North Korea’s rocket launch of December 12.

“North Korean militarism endangers our region, particularly South Korea and Japan,” Senator Carr said.

“Australians would expect that we take a leading role in talks on international reaction to this launch.”

“Another Australian priority for 2013 will be the ongoing crisis in Syria which has claimed 40,000 lives, left more than one million homeless and endangers Middle East security.

“Australia has proposed a plan to protect medical workers in Syria and boost access to hospital care. I have flagged with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon our intention to pursue this plan in appropriate international forums in 2013.

“Our plan already has support from Secretary Clinton and from European and Arabic Foreign Ministers.

“We’ll continue to push for action in the international community, to protect the lives of Syrian civilians through our medical plan, and to encourage a unified international response to this conflict.”

The Security Council oversees 15 peacekeeping operations with 117,000 personnel deployed worldwide and 13 political and peace-building missions across four continents. After the US, the UN has the largest number of troops deployed overseas. Deployments are authorised by the Security Council.

The Council also manages 13 sanctions regimes and eight subsidiary bodies covering issues such as weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, women and children and armed conflict, and women, peace and security.

Australia was elected as a non-permanent member of the Security Council on October 19. The term is for two years from January 1, 2013.

  1. January 1, 2013 7:48 pm

    Great, all of this is very important. I also hope that addressing the horrors of human trafficking and other organised crimes will also be a priority. The UNSC may have real potential to make a difference.

  2. January 2, 2013 2:57 am

    Australia brings a lot to the (UN Security Council) table, but puzzled by the omission of Sudan, Darfur, Abyei and South Sudan from this list of priorities and “issues of significance which the Security Council is expected to address in early 2013.”

    Do Australia and/or Bob Carr think those issues, despite being unresolved and very much on the Council’s agenda, are over? We’ll find out, in the Security Council…

  3. Tony permalink
    January 3, 2013 5:10 pm

    Mr. Carr,
    with the latest UN estimates of atleast 60,000 killed in Syria, I think we’ve done enough damage by giving aid and comfort to extremist islamists who want to overthrow an otherwise secular government in the age of The War On Terror. You were on the right side of history by atleast abstaining on the recent UN vote on Palestine, please again be on the right side of history by not letting down Australians who know that US, NATO ( along with bastions of freedom Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain) intervention in Syria based on freedom and democracy is as much a fraud as WMD was in Iraq.

    • January 9, 2013 6:55 pm

      Hi Bob,
      gobsmacked by the above post, sounds like spin from someone with vested interests. It’s ridiculous to suggest that the flood of journalist reports and civilian videos coming out of Syria are showing anything else other a regime attacking its citizens to stay in power.

      I’m sick of seeing so many cities entirely destroyed in Syria, people bombed, living underground, killed or injured. If I could afford to donate to the Syrian Support Group (who support the Free Syrian Army), I would do so but right now I don’t even have $20 to give.

      I really don’t understand why the UN refuses to get properly involved and stop the regime attacking their own people when so many thousands have died or been badly injured. All I do know is that Russia sells the regime arms so that they will veto any action against the regime at the UN.

      I’ve heard UN representatives and politicians saying ‘it’s complicated’ – why? How can the UN and the Arab League not act? Can you give me an answer? Why is a no-fly zone so out of the question?

      By the way, I am a white Australian woman with no vested interests in this other than wanting to see the mass slaughter of Syrian people stop, and see them have a chance at peace and democracy. How long are we going to do nothing while this goes on?

      Can Australia push for more action from the UN? (Much more?) This is what I’d ask of you.
      Many thanks


      • Tony permalink
        January 19, 2013 2:05 pm

        TN, Syrias crime is not that it is a tyrannical dictatorship, else Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, all western allies, wouldn’t be supporting the efforts against the Assad regime. A movement towards greater democratic reform was violently hijacked and supported by the west in part due to its stance against Israel and its Russian port, and it being friends with Iran and Hezbollah. My vested interest is in the truth. You may want to back Al Queada backed islamists but I don’t. The Assad regime is fighting for its life, and I’m not going to make excuses for their actions, but the west and associated interests in the region have enabled the slaughter of 10s of thousands of innocents based on lies just like in Libya. You may be gobsmacked to learn that there is no evidence that Gaddafi was using the airforce to straffe civilians or that his troops were using viagara and raping everything in sight as reported in the media. The terms ‘activist’ and ‘terrorist’ are interchangeable. You need to recognise propoganda when you see it. Fran Kelly on Radio National fell for Syria Dannys calls for foreign invasion before he was exposed as a fraud staging events on air, just like the official sounding Syrian Human Rights Observatory oft quoted in the media is otherwise known as ‘ a bloke in a flat with a mobile phone’. He gets calls from Syria from ‘activists’ and then relays unconfirmed reports as fact to the media. If the wests intentions in the region are so noble then they do not need to resort to lies.

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