Monday, October 10, 2005

U.N. Names 5 Nations to Security Council

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Congo, Qatar, Slovakia, Ghana and Peru won easy election to the U.N. Security Council on Monday.

The five new members will serve two-year terms starting Jan. 1.

All but Peru were selected by regional groups and rubber-stamped by the 191 members of theU.N. General Assembly.Peru defeated Nicaragua, 144-43, in the only contested race. Both countries had waged intense campaigns for the seat, with lobbying for votes continuing until Assembly President Jan Eliasson banged the gavel for voting to begin.

To win a council seat, a country needed support from two-thirds of the voting members. In the secret ballot, Congo received 188 votes, Qatar 186 votes, Slovakia 185 votes and Ghana 184 votes.

While there is widespread support among the 191 U.N. member states to expand the 15-member Security Council to reflect the geopolitical realities of the 21st century, there is no agreement on how large it should be, who should get seats, whether the new seats should be permanent or temporary, and who should have veto power.Secretary-General Kofi Annan had hoped to get members to agree on an expansion plan before last month's U.N. summit, but the debate became so heated and divisive that the issue was shelved.

The council currently consists of five permanent members with veto power - the United States, Britain, Russia, China and France - and 10 non-permanent members who serve two-year terms and have no power to veto resolutions. The 10 elected members do have the right to propose resolutions, chair committees and hold the rotating council presidency for one-month periods.

Five countries are elected every year by the General Assembly to replace five retiring ones

The five new members will replace Algeria, Benin, Brazil, the Philippines and Romania, whose terms expire on Dec. 31. The new members join Argentina, Denmark, Greece, Japan and Tanzania, who were elected last year and will remain on the council until the end of 2006.

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