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

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Goodbye Ketchup, Hello Sriracha!

    How immigrants are triggering a great transformation in American cuisine

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora