NATIONAL NEWS

Denmark, Greece, Pakistan, Panama and Somalia are set to get seats on the UN Security Council

Jun 5, 2024, 9:08 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Denmark, Greece, Pakistan, Panama and Somalia were set to get seats on the U.N. Security Council in a secret ballot Thursday in the General Assembly.

The 193-member world body is scheduled to vote to elect five countries to serve two-year terms on the council. The 10 non-permanent seats on the 15-member council are allotted to regional groups who usually select their candidates but sometimes can’t agree on one. There are no such surprises this year.

Last year, Slovenia soundly defeated Russia’s close ally Belarus for the seat representing the East European regional group, a vote that reflected strong global opposition to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

This time, the regional groups put forward Somalia for an African seat, Pakistan for an Asia-Pacific seat, Panama for a Latin America and Caribbean seat, and Denmark and Greece for two mainly Western seats.

The five council members elected Thursday will start their terms on Jan. 1, replacing those whose two-year terms end on Dec. 31 — Mozambique, Japan, Ecuador, Malta and Switzerland.

They will join the five veto-wielding permanent members — the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom and France — and the five countries elected last year — Algeria, Guyana, South Korea, Sierra Leone and Slovenia.

The Security Council is charged with maintaining international peace and security. But because of Russia’s veto power it has been unable to take action on Ukraine — and because of close U.S. ties to Israel it has not called for a cessation of hostilities in Gaza.

All five countries expected to win seats on Thursday have served previously on the Security Council – Pakistan seven times, Panama five times, Denmark four times, Greece twice and Somalia once.

Virtually every country agrees that almost eight decades after the United Nations was established the Security Council needs to expand and reflect the world in the 21st century, not the post-World War II era reflected now.

But with 193 countries with national interests, the central question — and the biggest disagreement — is exactly how. And for four decades, those disagreements have blocked any significant reform of the U.N.’s most powerful body.

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Denmark, Greece, Pakistan, Panama and Somalia are set to get seats on the UN Security Council