PM con­fi­dent of seat

Townsville Bulletin - - National Snapshot -

JU­LIA Gil­lard has ended her first US visit as Prime Min­is­ter qui­etly con­fi­dent of Aus­tralia’s bid for a UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil po­si­tion.

Dur­ing her week-long visit, Ms Gil­lard had her first White House talks with US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, a rare ad­dress to a joint sitting of Congress, dis­cus­sions with busi­ness chiefs and lob­bied for a UNSC seat in 2013/ 14.

Se­nior gov­ern­ment sources said African Union mem­bers who met with the Prime Min­is­ter at the UN in New York were very im­pressed with her pre­sen­ta­tion and Aus­tralia was now qui­etly con­fi­dent of se­cur­ing key votes for the im­por­tant po­si­tion.

The mas­sive in­ter­est of Aus­tral i a n min­ing c o mpa­nies, which have in­vested around $ 20 bil­lion in Africa in re­cent years and have Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Ban Ki­moon, re­jected claims she was at odds with for­eign min­is­ter Kevin Rudd about a nofly zone over Libya.

Mr Rudd said he was not ‘‘ naive’’ about the mil­i­tary as­pects of a no-fly zone and that lives could be lost.

‘‘ It is, how­ever, very much the lesser of two evils, in our judg­ment, and the greater evil is sim­ply to stand back and al­low the in­no­cent peo­ple of Libya to be strafed and bombed by Gaddafi, who now op­er­ates com­pletely out­side the bound­aries of in­ter­na­tional hu­man­i­tar­ian law,’’ he said.

Ms Gil­lard said both she and Mr Rudd shared the same con­cerns about the peo­ple of Libya and that both of them were en­gaged in dis­cus­sions with of­fi­cials and lead­ers of con­cerned na­tions.

‘‘ Kevin Rudd and I are talk- ing about ex­actly the same thing – we view as ab­so­lutely re­volt­ing and re­pug­nant the v i o l e n c e we a r e s e e i n g against the peo­ple of Libya,’’ Ms Gil­lard said.

Op­po­si­tion Leader Ab­bott said mil­i­tary ven­tion and a no-fly should be op­tions.

‘‘ That’s what Ju­lia Gil­lard said in the par­lia­ment last week, and I was happy to sup­port her on that,’’ he said.

The Prime Min­is­ter, who vis­ited the New York Stock Ex­change and spoke with CEOs of ma­jor com­pa­nies, ended her trip talk­ing up the prospects of an Amer­i­can eco­nomic re­cov­ery.

On her way b a c k, Ms Gil­lard will stop in Honolulu where she will meet the Com­man­der of the US Pa­cific Com­mand, Ad­mi­ral Robert Wil­lard, to dis­cuss se­cu­rity is­sues in the Asia-Pa­cific. Tony in­ter­zone

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