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Clark awaits third poll on UN bid

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 28/08/2016

A third straw poll could determine the fate of Helen Clark's bid to be the next United Nations secretary-general.

The poll, to be held in New York on Monday (US time), follows earlier votes where the former prime minister was ranked sixth and seventh.

Only 10 candidates remain in the race after Croatia and Montenegro's applicants withdrew earlier this month.

Prime Minister John Key says Miss Clark is still in with a chance as the compromise candidate if the five permanent security council members can't agree on a candidate.

Russia remained "vehemently opposed" to Miss Clark, though it was nothing to do with her, Mr Key told TV3's Paul Henry programme on Monday.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully had been in discussions with Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov but Mr Key described the discussions as "wasting our time" because the Russians want to see an Eastern European candidate.

"She could come in the middle and be the compromise candidate. She's at longer odds now but she's still in with a chance," Mr Key said.

He said it would come down to whether the remaining permanent five countries believe Mr Putin is the right person to choose the next UN secretary-general.

Despite the lengthening odds, Mr Keys said he had no regrets in supporting Miss Clark's bid.

"The rational for supporting her is two things - relatively simple one, it means a lot to her so I'm happy to help her," he said.

"But the second thing, most importantly, is New Zealanders want to see other New Zealanders do well on the world stage. She'll do the job very well, she's extremely competent, why wouldn't I try and help her?"

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