Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced in United Nations that his country would seek a non-permanent seat on the the UN Security Council for 2013-2014, after an absence of 27 years.
He told reporters on Saturday that he told UN chief Ban Ki-moon during a one-hour meeting here that Canberra would seek election for a council seat during balloting scheduled for 2012.
"The pre-balloting process begins very early. That's why it is important to declare Australia's intention at this stage," he said.
"This will be a difficult candidature because there are already two states (Finland and Luxembourg) which have put their names forward and I imagine there will also be others."
Rudd noted that Australia last sat on the 15-member council in 1986 and reaffirmed Canberra's strong support for the UN system.
The one-hour meeting, Rudd's third with Ban, also touched on Afghanistan, Darfur, climate change and East Timor.
On Afghanistan, the Australian leader stressed the need to make the UN mission there "fully effective and fully operational as soon as possible." Australia has deployed around 1,000 military personnel as part of the international contingent assisting the Kabul government against resurgent Taliban extremists.
Turning to Sudan's Darfur conflict, the Australian leader offered to provide up to nine military officers for the joint UN-African Union force known as UNAMID as he slammed Khartoum's "continuing obstruction."
On climate change, Rudd said "progress so far is too slow, but we still got time to turn the corner." He said Ban was concerned about delays occurring in efforts to reach a global pact in Copenhagen late next year.