New Zealand Prime Minister John Key is stretching his final effort to win a seat in the United Nations Security Council as he arrives in the U.S. Key will spend a day and a half lobbying in New York before he is set to meet Pres. Barack Obama in Washington.
The prime minister is expected to lay a wreath at the memorial monument of those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks before talks with permanent UN ambassadors. According to reports, New Zealand held its last UN Security Council seat in 1993. In 2004, Former Prime Minister Helen Clark had announced New Zealand's intention to bid for a UN seat in 2015.
Reports said the UN will decide in October. Key remains confident New Zealand is pushing a stronger campaign to win a seat. In an interview, he said he cannot guarantee New Zealand will beat Turkey and Spain since they have big budgets. But he believes the country has run its "very best campaign."
New Zealand Greens Foreign Affairs Spokesman Kennedy Graham said he is confident the country has a "good shot" in getting one of the two seats in the UN Security Council.
While Key is in the U.S., he is set to have a private lunch with former U.S. President Bill Clinton and a meeting with Clark who now heads the UN Development Program.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International has called on Key to make human rights his priority agenda when he holds meetings with respective U.S. and UN ambassadors.
According to a TVNZ report, the human rights watchdog said the New Zealand government should prove it can fulfill its promise of "standing up for small states." Executive Director Grant Bayldon said despite the talk about winning support for the country's bid for a seat, Amnesty International has yet to hear of its "concrete plans."
The organization urges Key to use New Zealand's campaign to address the UN council's "consistent failure" to do something about the crisis in Syria because of the veto power of the five permanent members.
Bayldon said the inaction is "shameful."