12 October 2010

South Africa: UN Security Council Seat Won

Photo: BuaNews
President Jacob Zuma and Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane.

Pretoria — After intense diplomatic canvassing, South Africa has won a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

South Africa got 182 votes in the 192-member UN General Assembly, which met on Tuesday.

The 182 votes are four votes less than what SA got in the 2007/2008 period.

The UN General Assembly also elected Germany, India, and Colombia to two-year seats on the council, while Canada and Portugal went to a second round of voting.

Each non-permanent country stays on the council for two years, alongside the permanent powers - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, who have the right to veto any council resolution.

SA says it will push for the African agenda and commit to maintaining international peace and security, during its term.

"If elected to the UNSC, South Africa will be guided by its commitment to multilateralism, advancement of the African agenda and the peaceful resolution of conflicts," International Relations said on Monday.

South Africa surprised many in its first tenure, and outraged some, after it joined Russia and China in allowing the Security Council to consider a relatively mild resolution on human rights issues in Myanmar, whose government is widely seen as one of the most repressive.

In an interview with the SABC, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane acknowledged that they should have communicated better during that experience. She said the country had now gained international experience.

South Africa has been canvassing for votes for the UNSC seat - with countries in the African Union, India, United States, Russia and China, supporting it following recent visits by President Jacob Zuma to these countries to promote trade and diplomatic relations.

The elected members take their spots on 1 January 2011 and will serve for two years.

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