Russia has found itself at odds with many nations over the future of Syria and the MH17 disaster during the UN General Assembly in New York this week, where Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is representing Australia.


Ms Bishop told the assembly in a keynote speech on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST) Australia would seek a non-permanent council seat in 2029-30.

She also backed a new push to curtail the single-handed ability of permanent members to veto resolutions dealing with “mass atrocities”.

Having met earlier with representatives of nations involved in the MH17 investigation, Ms Bishop said: “We will not let a Russian veto impede the efforts of countries grieving the loss of their citizens and demanding justice for the perpetrators of this atrocity.”

Australia was open to a range of political solutions in Syria.

Speaking at a forum on fighting terrorism, which Ms Bishop attended, US President Barack Obama said defeating Islamic State in Syria would only be possible if Bashar al-Assad leaves power, a day after a clash with Russia over the Syrian president’s fate.

“In Syria … defeating ISIL requires, I believe, a new leader,” he said.

Ms Bishop also used her speech to outline Australia’s first-time bid for seat at the UN Human Rights Council.

Australia would use the role to promote the empowering of women and girls, strengthening governance and democratic institutions, promoting freedom of expression and advance the human rights of all.

Decisive action was required on climate change, she said, committing Australia to seeking a global approach to the two degree warming goal.

Earlier Ms Bishop told the anti-extremism forum that while a comprehensive package of domestic counter-terrorism measures had been put in place, it was important to defeat the group at their source.

“The campaign is making progress,” she said of the coalition fight against Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

However, without political reconciliation in Iraq, the military effort would not succeed.

Australia last served on the security council in December 2014.

The 2029-30 term is considered the first available opportunity to nominate for a seat that is uncontested, giving Australia the greatest chance of success and minimising the cost.

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek is a “little bit surprised” about the bid’s timing.

“That seems a little unambitious to me, but we are not going to criticise the government for saying that we should take on a greater international responsibility,” she told ABC radio.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon used the forum to ask all UN members to contribute to a new plan in 2016 to tackle extremism.

Russia snubbed the forum, sending a low-level diplomat to the meeting to take stock of the one-year campaign to defeat IS

jihadists, who control large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told the forum his people were making great sacrifices to defeat ISIL.

“We must not lose purpose and lose time.



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