Two African countries, three others to join UN Security Council in January 2020

Posted by News Express | 8 June 2019 | 983 times

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•U.N. Security Council in session

Two African countries – Niger and Tunisia – as well as Estonia, Saint
Vincent and the Grenadines, and Vietnam were elected Friday to
two-year terms on the U.N. Security Council.

The five will join the 15-nation body responsible for maintaining
international peace and security on Jan. 1, 2020.

There is usually little suspense in the General Assembly for the vote,
as regional groups typically pre-select a candidate from within their
bloc to run uncontested. This year, Tunisia, Niger and Vietnam ran
unopposed.

So did Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, until just hours before
Friday morning's vote, when El Salvador announced it would challenge
the tiny island nation for the one open seat in the Latin American and
Caribbean region.

Diplomats expressed surprise ahead of the vote as to why El Salvador
would come in at the last minute, when the regional bloc had agreed in
December to put up Saint Vincent as their candidate.

“You don’t do it like that,” one western diplomat said disapprovingly.
Most other countries appeared to agree, with El Salvador winning only
six of the 193 votes cast.

Eastern Europe did run a contested race this year, endorsing two
candidates, Estonia and Romania.

Estonia, which joined the U.N. in 1991 after the collapse of the
Soviet Union, has never served on the Security Council. It beat
four-time council veteran Romania after two rounds of ballots,
exceeding the necessary two-thirds majority needed.

Member states cast secret ballots and candidates must win a two-thirds
majority of votes to succeed, even if they are running uncontested.
Candidate countries cap off their often years-long campaigns with
parties in the lead-up to the vote.

Reaction
“I want to reiterate that Saint Vincent and the Grenadines views this
as an historic occasion,”

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told reporters after the election. “We
are the smallest country ever to be elected as a non-permanent member
of the Security Council.”

The island nation has a population of just 110,000.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has aligned with the Maduro regime in
Venezuela.

“Non-interference, non-intervention, peaceful settlement of serious
difficulties pertaining to governance,” the prime minister said when
asked what his government's policy is toward Venezuela.

Vietnam had nearly unanimous support in the General Assembly, winning
192 of 193 votes.

“As Vietnam went through decades of war, we hope that we can bring to
the council the experience of Vietnam, the country that has been able
to rebuild after the war and deal with many other issues,” said the
president's special envoy Le Hoai Trung.

Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui said his nation would try
to be a “bridge builder” on the council and contribute to trying to
solve some of the most important peace and security issues.
Council dynamics

“With the election of Saint Vincent and Vietnam, the Security Council
could tilt a little towards China and Russia next year,” said Richard
Gowan, U.N. Director, International Crisis Group. “Saint Vincent has
stuck with Maduro in Venezuela, and Vietnam hews to a pretty robust
anti-Western line in U.N. debates.”

Tunisia and Niger will represent Africa on the council. Gowan told VOA
they could figure prominently if Libya and the Sahel continue atop the
agenda.

“It will be hard to ignore their views on issues like the spillover of
violence from Libya and the worsening security situation in Burkina
Faso,” he said.

The five new council members will replace Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial
Guinea, Kuwait, Peru and Poland, whose terms end Dec. 31, 2019.
They will join the other non-permanent members — Belgium, the
Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia, and South Africa — as well as
the permanent five members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the
United States.

•Adapted from a VOA report.


Source: News Express

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