ANKARA: Babacan Seeks To Lure UN Envoys To Support Turkey


Zaman Online
July 24 2008

Foreign Minister Ali Babacan has stepped up efforts to garner support
for Turkey’s bid to secure a seat on the UN Security Council for
2009-2010, meeting representatives of more than 100 countries at a
reception on Tuesday night.

Turkey is one of three candidates bidding for the two seats allocated
to the Western European and Others Group (WEOG). Its rivals in the
group are Iceland and Austria. The election of the new temporary
members of the Security Council will be held in October.

Babacan, who is currently in New York to drum up support for Turkey’s
bid, met with Srgjan Kerim, the president of the 62nd session of
the UN General Assembly, on Tuesday and was scheduled to meet with
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last night as Today’s Zaman went to
print. Ankara hopes a seat at the powerful Security Council will both
boost its international credibility and give it increased leverage in
a series of disputes in which it is involved, including the dispute
over the status of the divided island of Cyprus. If elected, Turkish
officials say, Turkey will work for the alleviation of poverty and
contribute to efforts to resolve international conflicts peacefully.

Speaking to reporters at Tuesday’s reception, attended by
representatives of 118 UN member countries, Babacan said his visit was
aimed at securing support for Turkey’s bid from as many countries as
possible. He said he had already held talks with representatives from
the Latin American and Caribbean Group (LACG) and the Least Developed
Countries (LDC) group at the UN, in addition to Kerim. Meetings
with representatives of countries from the African Union, the Arab
League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) are also
scheduled. Diplomatic sources said Babacan had told the representatives
of different groups that it was values that brought countries together,
not geographical location. He also briefed them about a series of
Turkish efforts to assist the peace process in the Middle East,
including its ongoing mediation between Syria and Israel, as well as
its central role in the UN-backed Alliance of Civilizations initiative.

Noting that Turkey has not been a member of the UN Security Council
for 47 years, Babacan said at the reception that Turkey deserved
to win a seat this time. "We have to work until the last minute,"
Babacan said, noting that he has met with the foreign ministers of
130 countries over the past 10 months to secure their support for
Turkey’s UN bid. "Turkey is working for stability both in its region
and the world. I believe we can make substantial contributions to
the Security Council. Our membership in the Security Council will
help world peace," Babacan said. "That’s why I am in New York. I will
explain what Turkey is doing, our reform process and our contribution
to peace and security in the Middle East, the Balkans and other parts
of the world," he added.

UN General Assembly President Kerim, who also attended the reception,
praised Turkey’s positive role in Middle East dialogue, as well as
its crisis management in the Balkans, but stressed that, as president
of the General Assembly, he was impartial toward all three candidates
running for the UN seat in the WEOG.

Representatives of Iceland and Austria were also among the envoys
attending the Turkish reception, hosted by Turkey’s permanent
representative at the UN, Ambassador Baki Ä°lkin.

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Arme nian envoy attends Turkish reception at UN

Permanent Armenian representative to the UN Ambassador Armen
Martirosyan was among 118 diplomats attending a reception hosted by
the Turkish representative in New York on Tuesday.

Martirosyan spoke briefly with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan
during the reception, hosted by Turkish permanent representative to
the UN Ambassador Baki Ä°lkin. Babacan is in New York to lobby for
Turkey’s bid to win a temporary seat on the UN Security Council ahead
of elections in October.

Speaking to reporters, Martirosyan said the Turkish delegation at the
UN had not asked the Armenian delegation for support for its Security
Council bid. "We have had no contact with the Turkish government
about this issue," he said. Martirosyan also said he attended the
reception upon Ä°lkin’s invitation. "I wanted to say ‘welcome’ to
your distinguished foreign minister," he told Turkish reporters.

Turkey and Armenia have had no formal relations for more than a decade,
but prospects for dialogue have recently emerged. Armenian President
Serzh Sarksyan has invited his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul,
to a World Cup qualifying game between the two countries’ national
soccer teams in September, but Turkey has yet to respond. Martirosyan
said Sarksyan’s invitation was a sincere one, adding that the Armenian
administration wanted to see him in Yerevan. New York Today’s Zaman