Canada is looking to win a seat on the UN Security Council as part of a move to reinvigorate its relationship with the world body, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday as he hosted UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
The two men held talks on a number of issues at the start of Ban’s short visit to Ottawa and Montreal.
“On the issue of the UN Security Council, I highlighted to the secretary general that part of Canada wishing to re-engage robustly with the United Nations and in multilateral engagement around the world includes looking towards a bid for the UN Security Council,” Trudeau said.
“We’re looking at a number of windows in the coming years. We are going to evaluate the opportunities for Canada to mount a successful bid.”
The 15-member council has five permanent members and 10 members elected by the assembly to two-year terms.
In 2010, Canada lost its bid for a two-year council term to Portugal. A return to the council would mark a major comeback for Canada.
Ban said he welcomes Trudeau’s plan to rebuild a robust relationship with the UN, saying Canada has been one of UN’s “most important partners.”
“The weather here is quite cold,” Ban said. “But the relationships between the United Nations and Canada are very-very warm.”
The talks between the two leaders covered issues ranging from climate change to the resettlement of Syrian refugees and Canada’s return to major peacekeeping operations.
Ban credited Trudeau’s leadership with helping secure the “breakthrough” global agreement on climate change reached at the Paris summit in December.
“Now we need Canada to put the agreement into action and help keep the rest of the world on track,” Ban said.
Ban also commended Canada on its “compassionate approach” to Syrian refugees.
“They have lost their homes and their family members, they deserve opportunity, human rights, protection and peace,” Ban said. “Canada is helping to give them hope.”
Commitment to peacekeeping
Trudeau said he told Ban that Canada wants to be involved as a peacemaker.
Canadian involvement in UN peacekeeping operations fell sharply in the last decade as the war in Afghanistan sucked much of the military’s resources.
Trudeau promised Ban that Canada plans recommit to peacekeeping operations.
“I reiterated the commitment of our government to strengthen the UN’s ability to maintain international peace and security, including by increasing support for peace operations and contributing more to mediation, conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction efforts.”
With files from The Canadian Press and CBC News