Five nations join UN Security Council

The United Nations has elected the Congo Republic, Ghana, Peru, Qatar and Slovakia to two-year seats on the 15-nation UN Security Council.

    The new members will take their seats on 1 January

    In balloting in the 191-nation UN General Assembly on Monday, four of the winning candidates were unopposed for seats earmarked for Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.
    In the sole contest - for the seat set aside for Latin America and the Caribbean - Peru defeated Nicaragua, 144-43.
    The five were elected by secret ballot in the assembly, which according to the UN Charter must approve contenders by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting.
    Each of the world body's 191 member-nations has one vote in the assembly. The candidates for all but the Latin American seat were endorsed by their respective UN regional groupings. The Latin America group made no endorsement.
    The five newly elected members will on 1 January assume seats being vacated by Algeria, Benin, Brazil, the Philippines and Romania. Those five countries have been serving on the council since January 2004, and their terms expire in December.
    Nicaragua and Peru were competing to succeed Brazil. 
    Seats vacated

    Ghana and the Congo Republic will take the seats being vacated by Algeria and Benin, Slovakia will assume the Eastern European seat opened up by the departure of Romania, and Qatar is in line for the Asian seat now held by the Philippines.
    The Security Council, the world body's most powerful organ, is responsible for decisions on issues of war and peace, sanctions against nations and peacekeeping. Its decisions can be legally binding on all UN members.
    The council has five permanent members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - who enjoy veto power and 10 members who serve for two-year terms.
    The terms are staggered so that five of the non-permanent seats change hands every year.
    Current members Argentina, Denmark, Greece, Japan and Tanzania will remain on the council for another year, having begun their two-year terms in January 2005. 

    SOURCE: Reuters


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