<!-- IMAGE -->
Bosnia, Brazil, Gabon, Lebanon and Nigeria were elected Thursday to
non-permanent seats on the U.N. Security Council. They will serve
two-year terms starting January 1 and will participate in decisions
ranging from deploying U.N. peacekeepers to imposing sanctions.
year's vote lacked the suspense of some previous elections, because all
five candidates were unopposed and succeeded in getting the two-thirds
majority required in the first round of secret ballots.
the council's 15-seats are filled by regional representatives for
two-year terms. The other five seats are permanent ones held by
veto-wielding members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United
British Ambassador John Sawers said the additions to the council will make it even stronger.
have two large countries in Brazil and Nigeria who carry the weight of
being a regional power," he said. "We have two countries in Lebanon and
Bosnia who have been through conflict and can bring their own national
experiences to the Security Council."
Lebanon and Bosnia and Herzegovina, are in the unusual position of also being on the council's agenda.
is a multiethnic country still recovering from the war that accompanied
the break-up of Yugoslavia. It has experienced internal divisions and
rising tensions in the past year, as major political parties struggle
to agree on a basic political structure.
Minister Sven Alkalaj said the current political crisis would not
adversely impact its role on the council or prevent it from taking
"The situation in Bosnia is going to be
stable, it is now stable. What is happening now is some political
crisis that [also] happens elsewhere in world," he said.
has one of the largest U.N. peacekeeping forces in the south of its
country. It is also the subject of a U.N.-backed tribunal which is
considering indictments in the 2005 assassination of former Prime
Minister Rafiq Hariri. Internal divisions have prevented the formation
of a new government following June elections.
diplomat said Lebanon could prove to be something of a wild card on
Middle East issues - particularly Iran's nuclear ambitions. He noted
that if the Iranian dossier comes back to the council for possible
sanctions, Lebanon, which will likely have members of Iranian-backed
Hezbollah's political wing in its next government, could have a
conflict of interest and choose to abstain from voting.
Brazil joins the council for the 10th time. It is a founding member of
the United Nations and was part of the first group elected to the
Security Council in 1946.
Nigeria has served three times
before. Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe said his country would work to
prevent crises and conflicts, deal with human rights issues and
generally promote international solidarity.
"We intend that
working with all the other members of the U.N. Security Council," he
said. "Our preventive diplomacy will be central to our approach to a
lot of issues."
Nominations for non-permanent seats are not
required, countries simply announce their intention to run.
Consideration is given to an equitable geographical distribution and a
candidate's contribution to the maintenance of international peace and
The five new members are replacing out-going council
members Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Croatia, Libya and Vietnam. In
addition to the five permanent council members, they will join Austria,
Mexico, Japan, Turkey and Uganda on the 15-member council.