Former Australian minister Bob McMullan appointed as envoy for Africa

13:30, October 11, 2010      

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Former Australian Labor minister Bob McMullan has been appointed a special envoy for Africa, Foreign Minister confirmed to local media on Monday.

The move could bolster Australia's chances of hosting the soccer World Cup in 2022, and getting a United Nations (UN) Security Council seat.

McMullan, who retired at this year's August 21 general election after more than two decades in parliament as a senator and lower house Member of Parliament (MP), has taken a close interest in overseas aid and development.

Veteran diplomat Bill Fisher has also been appointed as special envoy for French-speaking nations.

"Minister Rudd looks forward to McMullan and Fisher advancing Australia's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council," a spokeswoman for Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd told Australia Associated Press on Monday.

Australia is bidding for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council in 2013-14, and is hoping to secure the vote of at least some of the more than 50 African nations in the General Assembly.

According to Australia Associated Press, while the seat is more symbolic than substantive and holds less power than the permanent members -- China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States -- it does allow Australia to highlight global issues of interest.

Australia would also get a chance to hold the presidency, which rotates monthly among the 15 members.

The council's role under the UN charter is the "maintenance of international peace and security".

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website, the main thrust of Australia's argument for a seat is its determination to "work through the UN to enhance security, improve economic and social well-being, and strengthen environmental protection, worldwide".

It also argued having a significant overseas aid budget, been part of more than 40 UN peacekeeping missions, ratified the Kyoto Protocol and apologized to indigenous people should bear some weight.

Meanwhile, African nations will also play a key role in determining whether Australia hosts the 2022 World Cup, with Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Egypt on the peak body FIFA's executive.

The host nation will be announced on December 2.

McMullan's role has been confirmed by a spokesperson of Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, but not officially announced to the public yet.

Source: Xinhua


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