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Senator Evans urges the United States to maintain support for the UN

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3 February 1994 Μ 6


Australia must encourage the United States to maintain support for the UN, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Gareth Evans, said today.

Senator Evans urged the Clinton Administration and the US Congress to resist proposals such as those of Senator Bob Dole, US Senate Minority Leader, in his recently tabled "Peace Powers" Bill, which would significantly lessen US support for UN peace operations and which would seek to impose further unilateral limits on US payments of its funding obligations to the UN.

Senator Evans made the remarks today in opening the first full meeting of Australia's National Committee for the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations, which will be commemorated in 1995.

"An enhanced UN role in maintaining international peace and security equires the full support of the major powers. After the lessons of Somalia and the former Yugoslavia, the US should join the international community in conducting a thorough review of how the UN decides, manages and funds peace operations, rather than stepping away from the Organisation," he said.

Senator Evans said the Australian Government was committed to reform of the United Nations to enable it to face the major challenges of the 21 st Century. In his book published last year, Cooperating for Peace, Senator Evans had proposed the need for a more effective system of global security, including greater emphasis on preventive diplomacy and more effective peace keeping.

Senator Evans told the committee that there were two principal messages relevant to Australia to be drawn from the UN's 50th anniversary theme: "We the Peoples of the United Nations ... United for a Better World".

These were, first, that there should be a renewed focus on the UN as an organisation with a basic concern for the rights and welfare of individuals; and, secondly, that reform of the UN is necessary if it is to meet both the economic and social, and the security, challenges of the 1990s and beyond.

Senator Evans said the UN was created to serve a broader constituency than simply the community of nation states. He said there was a growing acceptance by UN member states of the role of non-government organisations (NGOs) within the UN and increasing attention was being given to individuals as the key actors in economic and social development. Australia maintained its concern for the aspirations of

individuals all over the world, had a leading voice in human rights, and supported the notion of human development. The UN's 50th anniversary was an appropriate opportunity to address these and other challenges, Senator Evans said.

Australia's Ambassador to the UN, Richard Butler, was appointed last year to chair the UN Preparatory Committee to coordinate preparations for the anniversary, giving Australia a high profile internationally on anniversary matters.

Australia has contributed the equivalent of US$25,000 towards the cost of the UN anniversary commemorations.

The convenor of the Australian National Committee to plan Australian activities for the UN's 50th anniversary is Mr Roger Shipton, President of the United Nations Association of Australia. The Governor-General, Mr Bill Hayden, is its patron.

Other members of the committee (see attached list) include eminent Australians with a demonstrated interest in the UN and a commitment to its improvement from a wide cross section of Australian society.

The committee's role is to provide advice on appropriate government activities for the anniversary, to serve as a catalyst for other anniversary commemorations and to develop a publicity program in the wider community.

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MEMBERS: * Senator Vicki Bourne * Mr Brian Bundekin (Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission) * Mr Richard Butler (Chairman, UN Committee for the 50th Anniversary and Australian Permanent Representative to the United Nations) * Ms Trish Caswell (Australian Conservation Foundation) * Mr Malcolm Colless (News Limited)

* Mr MichaerCostello (Secretary, DFAT) * Dr David David (Head, Australian Cranio-Maxillo Facial Foundation) * Ms Elizabeth Evatt (Law Reform Commission)

* Ms Pru Goward (ABC Radio National) * General Peter Gration (Former Joint Chief of Staff, Australian Defence Forces) * Ms Judy Henderson (National Chair of Community Aid Abroad/Freedom from Hunger) * Mr James Ingram (Former Head of the World Food Program) * Mr Barry Jones MP (UNESCO) * Justice Michael Kirby (Chairman, Executive Committee, International Commission of Jurists) * Mr George Negus (ABC TV Foreign Correspondent Program) * Miss Lois O'Donoghue (ATSIC)

* Mr Andrew Peacock MP * Mr Gary Pemberton (Chairman, Qantas) * Senator Margaret Reynolds * Lieutenant-General John Sanderson (Commander Joint Forces Australia) * Mr Roger Shipton (President, United Nations Association of Australia) * Professor Nancy Viviani (Dean of Asian and International Studies, Griffith University) * Ms Penny Wensley (Ambassador, UN Geneva) * Dr Peter Wilenski (Former Secretary, DFAT) * Mr Richard Woolcott (Former Secretary, DFAT)