Pakistan and Somalia to Join U.N. Security Council


Denmark, Greece, Pakistan, Panama, and Somalia were elected by the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday to serve two-year terms on the U.N. Security Council (UNSC), taking over five rotating “non-permanent” membership slots from Ecuador, Japan, Malta, Switzerland, and Mozambique.

None of the five nations suffered that ignominious fate. Denmark won the most General Assembly votes with 184, while even deeply troubled Somalia scored 179. Countries need 129 votes for confirmation.

The five new nonpermanent members will take their seats at UNSC on January 1. Richard Gowan, U.N. director for the International Crisis Group, told VOA the most promising addition to the Security Council is Denmark.

At the other end of the spectrum, VOA noted it was unusual for a country like Somalia that has both foreign troops and U.N. officials on the ground, trying to hold the country together under assault from the Islamist terrorists of al-Shabaab, to take a seat on the Security Council.

“We are fully prepared to bring our distinct perspectives, experiences and solutions to the global arena, making a meaningful contribution to the work of the U.N. Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security,” Somali Foreign Minister Ahmed Moallin Fiqi promised after the General Assembly voted on the new members.

Africa’s Nation hoped UNSC membership would mark a “turnaround” for Somalia, which was under a U.N. arms embargo from 1992 until last December. The embargo was imposed at a time when Somalia was in the grip of a bloody struggle for power waged by various warlords.

When the sanctions were lifted, the U.N. recognized “progress made in weapons and ammunition management” by Somalia, as well as the Somali government’s need to acquire better weapons to fight al-Shabaab.

“It is both symbolic and strong diplomatic status for Somalia to appear among the Security Council members and this will help Somalia to have a better access for member nations,” Virginia-based Somalia analyst Abdiqafar Abdi Wardhere, said.

“Somalia has come a long way over the past three decades on its path to peace, prosperity, and security. Election to a seat on the Security Council is recognition of that commendable progress,” James Swan, the U.N. Secretary-General’s acting representative for Somalia, said.

Pakistan is also a controversial choice, as it is politically unstable, has a dubious human rights record, and is fighting a deadly Islamist insurgency of its own.

“Uncontested elections for seats on the Security Council, or any other U.N. body, make a mockery of the word ‘election,’” Louis Charbonneau of Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.

Pakistani U.N. Ambassador Munir Akram said his country has always been a major contributor of troops to U.N. peacekeeping missions and will push for more active peacekeeping deployments from its seat on the Security Council.

“We need to evolve the nature of U.N. peacekeeping to be able to address the kind of conflicts that we are facing today in many parts of the world,” Akram said. “The U.N. needs to have a more proactive role in trying to enforce peace in some of these conflicts.”

UNSC has five permanent members with veto power – the U.S., UK, China, France, and Russia – plus ten nonpermanent members selected from different regions who rotate in two groups of five. The other five current nonpermanent members are Algeria, Guyana, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, and South Korea. They are scheduled to be replaced in 2025.

John Hayward
John Hayward
I'm a conservative because there is so much about the American tradition that is worth conserving.

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