Alexander Downer, ex-Foreign Minister and potential co-defendant war-criminal with ex-Australian Prime Minister John Howard over their role in the destruction of Iraq, has today resigned his seat on the back benches of the Australian Parliament in order, of all things, to take up a position as a UN peace diplomat in the seriously delicate and ongoing negotiations for peace in the divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus.
The negotiations over Cyprus, as has been pointed out to Downer, and which have been going on for decades, are extremely delicate and complex, and one has to wonder if Downer is the right person for the job considering his somewhat erratic and indelicate diplomacy skills and his well-known and historical utter disdain of the United Nations.
His disdain for the UN was first displayed even before 9/11. In March 2000 when the UN Human Rights Committee rebuked Australia over its native title laws, Downer, then Australian Foreign Minister, was quoted as saying: “We are a democratically elected government in one of the most liberal and democratic countries you will find on earth, and if a UN committee wants to play domestic politics in Australia it will end up with a bloody nose” Is this really the sort of language that one would associate with a wannabe peacemaker; a peacemaker in one of the worlds most delicate and long-running conflicts?
Of course, Downers show of utter contempt for the UN when the UN refused to allow the US, the UK, Australia and their allies a mandate to go ahead and destroy Iraq, is legendary when in 2003 at the time of the invasion of Iraq he condemned the UN and multilateral diplomacy as “irrelevant”.
One needs to wonder how this warmongering UN-hater can end up being considered for a job as a UN peacemaker.