Bosnia, Lebanon elected among five new UN council members

Muslim dominated Middle East and Balkan states, Lebanon and Bosnia, were among five countries elected to the U.N. Security Council.

Bosnia, Lebanon elected among five new UN council members

Muslim dominated Middle East and Balkan states, Lebanon and Bosnia, were among five countries elected to the U.N. Security Council on Thursday.

In an uncontested election, the U.N. General Assembly voted for Bosnia, Brazil, Gabon, Lebanon and Nigeria to serve on the council in 2010 and 2011. All five had been selected in advance by their regional groups.

From Jan. 1 they will replace Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Croatia, Libya and Vietnam as non-veto-holding members of the 15-nation body, the powerhouse of the United Nations with the authority to impose sanctions and send peacekeeping forces.

Lebanon has some 12,500 U.N. peacekeeping troops in its south after Israeli war, while Bosnia, torn by war in the 1990s, has a European Union force.

"The experience of being on the council will help strengthen their national government systems to enable them to take decisions on international issues," British Ambassador John Sawers, whose country holds a permanent council seat, said of Lebanon and Bosnia.

There are five veto-holding permanent members of the Security Council -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China -- and 10 temporary elected members without vetoes.

But the elected members have some power because a council resolution needs nine votes in favor as well as no vetoes.

Bosnian Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj told reporters his country's election to the council was a tribute to the long way it had come since its 1992-95 ethnic war. The Balkan state remains politically divided between a Serb republic and a Muslim-Croat federation.

He said Sarajevo would favor a council policy of preventive diplomacy, "never to allow the crisis and loss of human lives to happen ever again as we experienced in Bosnia."

The only way the five countries elected on Thursday could have been blocked would have been if they had failed to obtain a two-thirds majority of the votes. All five were elected with overwhelming majorities.

Reuters
Last Mod: 16 Ekim 2009, 08:27
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