'We are the next generation' – Dr Lance O'Sullivan leads 12 young Kiwis to UN meeting

Indigenous representatives from 123 countries are gathering for their 17th annual forum.

Dr Lance O'Sullivan, a Maori doctor and former New Zealander of the year, and 12 young people have been brought to New York by Kaitaia's Te Moko Foundation.

The trip, put together in three to four weeks, was funded by the generosity of New Zealanders.

"Some of those private individuals and donors don't look and sound like these kids and don't come from the same part of the country - young people do and that's inspiring to me," Dr O'Sullivan said.

The group is presenting on issues ranging from health, education, constitutional reform and the environment.

Dr O'Sullivan, who practices in Kaitaia, has transformed healthcare for Maori by cutting through bureaucracy - something the UN has struggled with.

"Process for process' sake is a killer - and we do need to break down the bureaucracy which slows up an organisation like this, but also what we see back home in New Zealand," he said.

The forum is also expected to be a learning experience for the young people.

"They've recognised being indigenous New Zealanders is part of a very wide and global community and I think it's been of huge value - recognising that they are in a family of First Nations people," Dr O'Sullivan said.

Indigenous representatives from 123 countries are gathering for their 17th annual forum, including some passionate New Zealanders. Source: 1 NEWS

Israeli fire in new Gaza border protest kills 2 Palestinians

Thousands of Palestinians joined the fourth weekly protest on Gaza's border with Israel on Friday, some burning tires or flying kites with flaming rags dangling from their tails. Two Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops firing from across the border fence, health officials said.

Huge black plumes of smoke from the blazing tires engulfed the area, as Israeli troops fired tear gas and live bullets, witnesses said. Gaza's Health Ministry said 445 protesters were injured, including 96 by gunfire.

Some of the injured were overcome by tear gas, hit with rubber-coated steel pellets or hit by shrapnel, officials said.

The protests are part of what organisers, led by Gaza's ruling Hamas group, have billed as an escalating showdown with Israel, to culminate in a mass march on May 15. Organisers have made conflicting statements about whether they plan an eventual mass border breach.

In the past three weeks, 28 Palestinians were killed and hundreds wounded by Israeli troops firing from across the border fence.

Palestine flag.
A Palestinian man hurls stones at Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel Source: istock.com



Kim Jong Un not asking for withdrawal of US troops from Korean Peninsula as precondition of abandoning nuclear weapons

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said today that his rival, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, isn't asking for the withdrawal of US troops from the Korean Peninsula as a precondition for abandoning his nuclear weapons.

If true, this would seem to remove a major sticking point to a potential nuclear disarmament deal.

North Korea, a small, authoritarian nation surrounded by bigger and richer neighbors, has always linked its pursuit of nuclear weapons to what it calls a "hostile" U.S. policy that is embodied by the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, the 50,000 stationed in Japan, and the "nuclear umbrella" security guarantee that Washington offers allies Seoul and Tokyo.

News that Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un have agreed to meet before may has shocked the political world. Source: 1 NEWS

Although Moon reported that North Korea isn't asking for the U.S. troops to leave, he said the North still wants the United States to end its "hostile" policy and offer security guarantees. When North Korea has previously talked about "hostility" it has been linked to the U.S. troops in South Korea.

It won't be until Moon and Kim meet next week, and then when Kim is to meet U.S. President Donald Trump sometime in May or June, that outsiders might know just what North Korea intends. Until then, caution is needed over the statements the various leaders are using to set up their high-stakes negotiations.

Moon and Kim's summit on April 27 will be only the third such meeting between the countries' leaders.

Moon, a liberal who is committed to engaging the North despite being forced to take a hard line in the face of repeated North Korean weapons tests last year, is eager to make the summit a success and pave the way for Kim and Trump to settle the deep differences they have over the North's decades-long pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Many analysts believe that Kim sees the meeting with Trump as a way to bestow legitimacy on his own leadership and on a rogue nuclear program that he has built in the face of international criticism and crippling sanctions. Many say it is unlikely that the North will trade away its hard-won nuclear weapons without getting what it wants in return.

"North Korea is expressing a commitment to a complete denuclearization," Moon said during a meeting with the heads of media organizations in South Korea.

"They are not presenting a condition that the U.S. cannot accept, such as the withdrawal of the American troops in South Korea. ... North Korea is only talking about the end of a hostile policy against it and then a security guarantee for the country."

Trump revealed Tuesday that the U.S. and North Korea had been holding direct talks at "extremely high levels" in preparation for their summit. Trump also said that North and South Korea are negotiating an end to hostilities before next week's summit.

North Korea has long sought a peace treaty with the United States to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War. Some South Koreans fear the North could use such a treaty as a pretext for demanding the withdrawal of the American troops in the South.

Some worry that potential discussions on formally ending the war may distract from already difficult efforts to rid the North of nuclear weapons and apply robust verification of that process.

The armistice that halted fighting in the war was signed by the U.S.-led United Nations Command, North Korea and China. South Korea was a member of the U.N. Command but was not a direct signatory.

In their previous summit in 2007, the Koreas declared a commitment toward ending the war and vowed to pursue discussions with others. But the efforts faltered and relations between the rivals worsened after a conservative government took office in Seoul in February 2008.

Even a few months ago this seemed like an impossibility.
Source: 1 NEWS