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UN Elects Libya, Four Other Nations as New Members of Security Council

The United Nations General Assembly Tuesday elected Libya, Vietnam, Burkina Faso, Croatia and Costa Rica to nonpermanent seats on the Security Council for the next two years. From VOA's New York Bureau, Mona Ghuneim reports on the results.

Libya's UN Ambassador says his nation's election to the Security Council is proof that it is serious about improved diplomatic relations.

The United States blocked Libya's bid to join the Council twice in the last 15 years, alleging Libya sponsored terrorist groups and the 1988 Pan Am flight bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.

This year, Libya's bid for a Council seat was uncontested. Libyan Ambassador Giadalla Azzuz Belgassem Ettalhi says he is not surprised that Washington did not back a candidate against Libya.

"Our relations with the United States nowadays [they] are back to normal," said Ettalhi. "Taking into consideration the development of our bilateral relations during the last [few] years, it is quite normal. We have fulfilled completely our agreement with Lockerbie."

Libya paid compensation for the Lockerbie victims and gave up its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

Vietnam and Burkina Faso were also elected, obtaining the two-thirds majority vote needed from the 192-member General Assembly on the first ballot.

Croatia and Costa Rica beat out the Czech Republic and the Dominican Republic after a second round of voting.

Overall the elections were fairly low-key, unlike last year's in the Latin American group. After 47 rounds of inconclusive balloting between contenders Venezuela and U.S.-backed Guatemala, both nations withdrew and Panama was elected as a compromise.

The five new members will take nonpermanent seats on the 15-member council on January 1 of 2008, replacing The Congo, Ghana, Peru, Qatar and Slovakia.