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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid