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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
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 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 ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid