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

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
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 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.
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 US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid