Panama wins UN Security Council seat
Panama received 164 votes in the 192-member General Assembly in the 48th round of balloting. It was more than the 120 needed to win the post that begins on January 1. The vote came 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.
Venezuela got 11 votes, Guatemala 4 votes, and Barbados 1. There were nine abstentions. 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.
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.
Meanwhile, in Washington, US State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, welcomed the Panama victory, telling reporters, the US looks forward to working with all new members “… on the many important issues before the Council.”
McCormack, whose government had been accused by Venezuela of waging an “evil” war to prevent them from winning the seat, also congratulated Guatemala, adding the U.S. is “… pleased that Guatemala has announced its candidacy for the Council for 2012-2013.” (Hardbeatnews.com)