UNITED NATIONS, June 29 (APP): After five rounds of inconclusive voting in the 193-member UN General Assembly, the Netherlands and Italy took the rare step Tuesday of agreeing to share a two-year seat on the U.N. Security Council, the world body’s power centre.
The countries were tied with 95 votes each, with neither able to reach the two-thirds majority needed to secure a seat.
After discussions, the two European Union members agreed to split the seat allocated to the “Western Europe and Others Group” for one year each.
Also securing seats Tuesday were: Bolivia, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan and Sweden.
This was not the first time candidates agreed to split a term. In 1960, after 52 rounds of voting, Poland and Turkey agreed to split a two-year term.
Under the UN Charter, the Security Council has the primary responsibility for international peace and security, with all UN Member States required to comply with Council decisions.
The Council’s 10 non-permanent seats are allocated according to a rotation pattern set by the Assembly in 1963, to ensure a proportionate representation over time from the different parts of the world: five from African and Asian States; one from Eastern European States; two from Latin American States; and two from Western European and Other States.
At Tuesday’s election, the General Assembly members voted by secret ballot for five seats divided by geographical grouping, three from Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, one from Eastern Europe, and one from Latin America and the Caribbean.
Bolivia and Ethiopia were chosen by their regional groups and had no competitors. Kazakhstan won the seat reserved for Asia Pacific against Thailand, while Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden had competed for two seats for Western Europe.
The newly-elected countries will replace Spain, Malaysia, New Zealand, Angola and Venezuela.
The Security Council has 15 members, including five permanent. The five permanent members, each with the power of veto, are: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Other current non-permanent members are Japan, Egypt, Senegal, Ukraine and Uruguay.
The Security Council is also responsible for determining the existence of a threat against peace and to respond to an act of aggression.
It is also responsible for finding peaceful means to settle a conflict or a dispute between States.
In some cases, the Council can resort to sanctions or even authorize the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security.
The Security Council also recommends to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary General and the admission of new Members to the United Nations.