Pakistan vies for non-permanent seat at Oct 21 UNSC election

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United Nations, Oct 20: Pakistan hopes to enter the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member, a club of 10 nations which currently includes India, when the United Nations holds annual elections to its powerful 15-nation body on October 21.

Pakistan is one of the nine countries vying for five non-permanent seats on the Security Council that will fall vacant on December 31, 2011.

The candidates include Kyrgyzstan, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo (from the African and Asia-Pacific States); Azerbaijan, Hungary and Slovenia (from the Eastern European States); and Guatemala (from the Latin American and Caribbean States), Director of the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council Affairs Division Ion Botnaru told reporters today.

India joined as non-permanent member of the UNSC on January 2011 and its term will end on December 31, 2012.

The two nuclear-armed neighbours have thrice before been together in the Council in 1968, 1977 and 1984.

Both the Indian and Pakistani missions to the UN did not have any comment on the elections.

India's Permanent Representative to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri and Pakistan's Ambassador Abdullah Haroon share cordial relations. The two envoys from the rival nations famously sat together in the US Open stands last year supporting the doubles team of Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi.

China has backed Pakistan's bid for non-permanent berth in the Security Council, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu saying Beijing attaches great importance to Pakistan's request for a seat on the Council and is in favour of Islamabad playing a bigger role in maintaining international peace and security.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, during her address to the UN General Assembly last month, had sought support for her country's election to the Council.
"At this session of the General Assembly, Pakistan is seeking election to a seat on the Security Council. In soliciting your support, I wish to assure you that we would discharge our responsibilities with utmost dedication to the high ideals and principles of the United Nations," she had said.

The countries whose terms are expiring this year are Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Gabon, Lebanon and Nigeria.

The new five non-permanent members will serve their terms from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013.

The elections are held on the basis of regional ballots, with Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan vying for a single seat available to the Asia-Pacific group.

A UN member state since 1947, Pakistan has previously served six terms on the council while Kyrgyzstan has never been on the council.

The four temporary members that will remain through 2012 besides India are Colombia, Germany, Portugal and South Africa.

Botnaru said three candidates will be elected from Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, one from Eastern Europe and one from Latin America and the Caribbean.

All except Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan and Guatemala had previously served on the Council.
To win, each country needs to garner support from two thirds of those present and voting in the Assembly.

The UNSC has five veto-holding permanent members - the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China -- and 10 temporary elected members without vetoes.

Botnaru said the Assembly would meet on October 24 to elect 18 members to the Economic and Social Council for three- year terms to replace members whose terms expired at year's end.

The endorsed candidates are Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Libya, Nigeria, India, Indonesia, Japan, Belarus, Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain and Turkey

PTI

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