PM confident of seat
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