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Panama Is New Member Of Security Council

Ending Deadlock, UN Assembly Elects Panama As New Member Of Security Council

New York, Nov 7 2006 5:00PM
Panama today was elected to a two-year term on the United Nations Security Council after being chosen by Latin American and Caribbean nations as a compromise candidate to end the stalemated contest for the seat between Guatemala and Venezuela that had been going on since last month.

In the 48th round of balloting, Panama received 164 votes in the 192-member General Assembly, more than the 120 needed to win the post that begins on 1 January. Venezuela got 11 votes, Guatemala 4 votes, and Barbados 1 vote. There were nine abstentions.

Speaking after the vote, the ambassador of Guatemala “thanked members of the Assembly for their patience and… congratulated the people and Government of Panama,” Assembly spokesperson Gail Bindley-Taylor Sainte told a news briefing.

Venezuela’s ambassador also thanked members of the Assembly for their “support and understanding,” she said, adding that he “also voiced his hope that Panama would be an independent, impartial and balanced member of the Security Council.”

Today’s vote comes after the foreign ministers of both Guatemala and Venezuela decided late last week to withdraw their candidatures at a meeting in New York and proposed Panama to the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States.

Throughout the earlier voting Guatemala maintained its lead over Venezuela, except in one tie vote, but was never able to reach the necessary two-thirds majority to serve as the region’s member for the two-year term, replacing Argentina.

In the 47th round last Tuesday, when 122 votes would have been enough to secure victory, Guatemala obtained 101 votes, Venezuela received 78, and Barbados, Ecuador and Uruguay received one vote each. There were seven abstentions.

At the start of this year’s balloting on 16 October Assembly members, following an agreed geographic allocation, elected Belgium, Indonesia, Italy and South Africa to serve as new non-permanent members, replacing Denmark, Greece, Japan and Tanzania when their terms end on 31 December.

The Council’s five other non-permanent members, whose terms end on 31 December 2007, are Congo, Ghana, Peru, Qatar and Slovakia. The five permanent members, the only ones with veto power when voting, are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

ends

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