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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Friday hailed Canberra's election to the United Nations Security Council, saying holding the non-permanent seat would bring an "Australian accent" to world affairs.
Australia, which received 140 votes from the secret ballot of 193 members, was elected to the two-year role beginning in January along with Rwanda, Argentina, the Republic of Korea and Luxembourg in a vote in New York on Thursday.
"This is a proud day for Australia," Gillard told reporters.
"We will take an Australian voice, an Australian accent into the Security Council and ... we will say the same things in the Security Council that we have said beyond it."
Gillard, who pressed ahead with the bid after deposing its initial supporter, former leader Kevin Rudd, said Australia's key priorities will include Afghanistan, Iran, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Syria.
In New York, a delighted Foreign Minister Bob Carr said the win was a "terrific triumph".
"This was a big, juicy, decisive win, and it's very, very sweet."
It is the fifth time Australia will serve on the Security Council, but the first in almost three decades, with the most recent occasion being in 1985-86.
The government has defended the more than A$24 million ($25 million) spent on the five-year campaign, with Carr saying it was worth it because it led to a deepening of diplomatic ties with other nations.
He added that election to the council reflected Australia's "positive standing in global affairs and the significant contribution Australia makes to international peace and security".
"It's a wonderful heart-warming endorsement of Australia as a good local citizen," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
(China Daily 10/20/2012 page8)