US Admiral backs NZ's bid for UN security council

The U.N. Security Council. File photo / AP
The U.N. Security Council. File photo / AP

The head of the US military in the Pacific says he can't see why New Zealand wouldn't be a great addition to the UN Security Council.

Admiral Samuel Locklear, commander of the US Pacific Command, told TVNZ's Q + A programme New Zealand's experience in the South Pacific would add valuable insight to some of the issues facing the council.

"One of the things I value very much, even in our relationship, security relationship, with the armed forces of New Zealand, is that you all have a very unique view, a very valuable view of the South Pacific, and of this region, the Antarctic region, which is important to the overall security environment," Admiral Locklear said.

"So I think if you extrapolate that view into the issues that the UN Security Council are dealing with, I couldn't see why New Zealand wouldn't be a great addition to that."

New Zealand is one of three countries seeking election to the two council seats available to non-permanent members in its category - Western European and others.

The elections take place in October. It has been 21 years since New Zealand served on the council.

Admiral Locklear, who was in New Zealand for meetings with Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman, also told TVNZ there were no plans to bring a US coastguard vessel into New Zealand waters, despite the invitation being extended as part of the Wellington Declaration between the two countries in 2010.

"It became, I think, an unnecessary distraction to the overall long terms strategic benefit that both nations will have out of having a better partnership, so we're going to look forward, were going to look ahead," he said.

A spokesman for the US Embassy said the admiral's comments were not an endorsement of New Zealand's bid for a council seat. There was a long-standing practice not to comment on how the US votes on security council matters, he said.

- APNZ

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