News / Africa

UN Members Elect 5 Countries to Security Council

FILE - United Nations Security Council.
FILE - United Nations Security Council.
Margaret Besheer
Five countries have won two-year terms on the U.N. Security Council, including two potentially controversial countries.

U.N. General Assembly President John Ashe announced the winners of the secret ballot vote. “Chad, Chile, Lithuania, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia are elected members of the Security Council for a two-year term beginning on 1 January 2014,” he said.

They will replace outgoing members Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo.

The seats are allocated regionally, and all five candidates had been agreed upon in advance within their regional groups, so they faced no competition. But they all were required to win a two-thirds majority approval of voting U.N. member states, which they did.

Chad, Saudi Arabia and Lithuania have never served on the 15-nation council.

Two of the new members are potentially controversial.

Chad has faced U.N. scrutiny for its use of child soldiers among the ranks of its military, while Saudi Arabia regularly faces international criticism for the state of human rights, and especially women’s rights, in the oil-rich kingdom.

New York University’s Richard Gowan noted that Chad may feel it deserves a seat on the council because it played a major part in stabilization operations in Mali this year, but noted it is a very weak and corrupt state. Despite these negatives, he said Chad can still bring something productive to the council.

"I think that the council is going to spend a lot of the next two years looking at instability in the Sahel region, including Mali and Niger. Chad is a very significant military player across that region. So it may be quite central to some debates about security in Africa,” said Gowan.

The Chadian National Army has been on a U.N. watchlist for child soldiers since 2009, and in 2011 signed a U.N. action plan setting a timetable for the release and reintegration of underage recruits, as well as measures to prevent future recruitment.

Gowan said Saudi Arabia has been very active on the Syrian crisis at the United Nations, often using their economic and energy muscle to pressure council members to take a hardline against the Syrian regime. He said that aggressive diplomacy likely will continue once Saudi Arabia joins the Security Council and may extend to other areas.

“The Saudis are accused of fueling the war in Syria. It is clear that Riyadh is increasingly unhappy with American policy toward Iran," said Gowan. "So although the Saudis are typically seen as close allies of the U.S., they may frequently clash with the Americans over the Middle East at the U.N.”

Saudi U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi told reporters after the vote that Riyadh supports the Syrian people in their struggle to achieve freedom, prosperity and unity. Aside from Syria, though, he said there is another issue that is very significant for Saudi Arabia.

"But equally important, if not more so in our opinion, is the Palestinian issue. Because we believe the Palestinian issue is the core issue of the difficulties in the Middle East, and we hope that we will be able to work with the other members of the council to achieve a peaceful resolution and to enable the Palestinians to  establish their independent state on the territories occupied in June 1967, with East Jerusalem as the legitimate capital of the state of Palestine,” said Al-Mouallimi.

Nigerian Foreign Minister Viola Onwuliri welcomed her country's return to the council for a fifth term in 53 years, saying it is a show of international confidence in Nigeria. She said Nigeria would not disappoint anybody, especially not Africa.

“We are coming come to the U.N. Security Council to talk about international peace and security, also coming with our own experiences, we will talk for Africa," said Onwuliri. "We need to have a strong voice to help the U.N. to deal with issues in Africa, since the African issues are majority of issues facing the U.N. Security Council today.”

The new council members will begin their terms on January 1. They will join the five permanent council members: China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States. The five other non-permanent members are Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, South Korea and Rwanda.

You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
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 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 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.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid