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New UN Council Seats Announced         06/12 09:16


   UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The United Nations elected five countries to join the 
powerful U.N. Security Council on Friday with no suspense because all were 
unopposed -- Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, Albania, Ghana and Gabon.

   Winning a seat on the 15-member Security Council is considered a pinnacle of 
achievement for many countries because it gives them a strong voice on issues 
of international peace and security ranging from conflicts in Syria, Yemen, 
Mali and Myanmar to the nuclear threat posed by North Korea and Iran, and 
attacks by extremist groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaida.

   It will be Albania's first time serving on the council and Brazil's 11th 
time, which will tie Japan as the country elected to the council for the most 
two-year terms. There had been a three-way race for two African seats but Congo 
dropped out on Monday.

   General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir announced the results of the 
secret-ballot vote and congratulated the winner.

   The five new council members will start their terms on Jan. 1, replacing 
five countries whose two-year terms end on Dec. 31 -- Estonia, Niger, Saint 
Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia and Vietnam.

   They will join the five veto-wielding permanent members of the council -- 
the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom and France -- and the five 
countries elected last year: India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico and Norway.

   Albania's Foreign Minister Olta Xhacka tweeted that its election is "an 
historic opportunity" and its U.N. Ambassador Besiana Kadare tweeted thanks to 
all countries that "entrusted us with this huge responsibility."

   UAE Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, 
whose country has only served on the council once before in 1986-1987, pledged 
to support multilateralism, international law and the U.N. Charter and 
contribute to peace and security "with great diligence and determination."

   The UAE's U.N. Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh said the country will also seek to 
overcome divisions and make progress on "the most critical challenges of our 
time -- from building resilience to climate change to tackling global health 
crisis and pandemics, to harnessing the potential of innovation for peace."

   Brazil's Foreign Ministry called vote a "recognition of Brazil's historic 
contribution to international peace and security" and said the South American 
nation will work to promote peaceful settlement of disputes, strengthen the 
U.N.'s peacekeeping missions, and safeguard the U.N.'s important role.

   Before COVID-19, countries running for Security Council seats often invited 
ambassadors for lavish visits to their nations, put on dinners and held 
receptions with entertainments, and sent senior government officials around the 
globe lobbying for votes. But the pandemic has curtailed all of that since 
March 2020.

   Last year, the election for new council members was held under dramatically 
different voting procedures because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

   Instead of having ambassadors from the 193 U.N. member nations in the 
General Assembly chamber together for elections, a new procedure was adopted. A 
few ambassadors arrived at the assembly during spaced-out time slots to avoid a 
large gathering and ensure social distancing, and deposited ballots in a large 
box not only for new Security Council members but for other positions.

   In recent months, the assembly has been meeting in person, with just two 
diplomats allowed from each country. So on Friday ambassadors were able to 
deposit their ballots one-by-one in a large box.

   The 10 non-permanent seats on the council are allotted to regional groups, 
who usually select candidates, but sometimes cannot agree on an uncontested 

   Even if a country is running unopposed, it must obtain the votes of 
two-thirds of the member states that voted in order to win a seat on the 

   In Friday's ballot, Ghana received 185 votes, Gabon 183 votes, Brazil 181 
votes, UAE 179 votes and Albania 175 votes.

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