News / USA

5 Countries Elected to UN Security Council

A U.N. conference officer distributes ballots to delegations as the UN General Assembly prepares to elect five new non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, Oct 18, 2012.A U.N. conference officer distributes ballots to delegations as the UN General Assembly prepares to elect five new non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, Oct 18, 2012.
x
A U.N. conference officer distributes ballots to delegations as the UN General Assembly prepares to elect five new non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, Oct 18, 2012.
A U.N. conference officer distributes ballots to delegations as the UN General Assembly prepares to elect five new non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, Oct 18, 2012.
Margaret Besheer
Five countries have won two-year terms on the 15-member U.N. Security Council, including one potentially controversial country - Rwanda.  

Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, Rwanda and South Korea won non-permanent seats in the vote by the U.N. General Assembly.  They will replace outgoing members Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal and South Africa.

Eight countries competed for the five open seats, which are allocated regionally.

The most hotly contested seats were for Asia-Pacific and the group known as Western European and Others.  In the first group, Bhutan, Cambodia and the Republic of Korea competed for the one available seat.  Of the three, only South Korea has served on the Security Council before, in the 1990s.  South Korea won in the second round.

Among the Western European and Others group, Australia, Finland and Luxembourg competed for two available seats.  Australia won easily in the first round, garnering 140 votes.

In the second round, Luxembourg pulled off what some diplomats thought was a surprising victory for the tiny country of a half million people, handily beating Finland 131 votes to 62.

There were two uncontested seats, one for the Latin America and Caribbean group, which decided in advance to field Argentina as their candidate, and the other for Africa, which put forward Rwanda.  Both countries were still required to win a two-thirds majority of votes and they did.

However, Rwanda’s win was overshadowed by a report earlier this week by Reuters news agency, citing a leaked U.N. experts report accusing Rwanda of giving military support to rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The DRC delegation openly objected before the vote to Rwanda joining the council.

Chargé d’Affaires Charlotte Malenga said beyond Rwanda’s destabilizing role in her country, Rwanda had become a safe haven for criminals operating in the eastern part of the DRC who are being sought by international justice.

New York University political analyst Richard Gowan notes that Rwanda has consistently denied accusations of meddling in the DRC, but once it joins the Security Council it may find itself under increased pressure from the United States and other Western powers and it will be harder to hide its activities.

“I think it could potentially have a positive effect.  Rwanda is going to continue to play a divisive role in the Congo, but I think it will want to avoid really damaging its relations at the U.N. by acting as a spoiler on the Security Council," said Gowan.

Most new members chose to savor their victories rather than give details about what they hope to accomplish in the Security Council, with Australia’s foreign minister declaring that his country's win is the world saying “we like Australia” and what it stands for.

NYU’s Richard Gowan was downbeat, however, on the impact the new members will have inside the 15-member council.

“The reality is in the Security Council at the moment, that really China, Russia and the U.S. are the powers that make all the decisions and whoever is elected is not really going to be able to change that reality," he said.

The new council members will begin their terms on January first.  They will join the five permanent council members - China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States - and five other non-permanent members - Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid