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  • The Security Council is the only U.N. body that can make legally binding decisions like imposing sanctions and authorizing the use of force.

    The Security Council is the only U.N. body that can make legally binding decisions like imposing sanctions and authorizing the use of force. | Photo: AFP

Published 17 June 2020
Opinion

The 193 U.N. member states must return on Thursday to choose between Kenya and Djibouti for the Africa seat.

Mexico, India, Ireland, and Norway were elected Wednesday to the United Nations Security Council, leaving the voting for the Africa seat open until Thursday. 

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India and Mexico's uncontested bids for the Asia-Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean seats were approved but the 193 U.N. member states must return on Thursday to choose between Kenya and Djibouti for the Africa seat.

Both countries are highlighting their roles in seeking peace on the Horn of Africa, as well as their contributions to U.N. peacekeeping options.

To ensure geographical representation, seats are allocated to regional groups. But even if candidates are running unopposed in their group, they still need to win the support of more than two-thirds of the U.N. General Assembly.

The new members will start their two-year term on the 15-member council on Jan. 1, which is made up of five veto-wielding permanent members: the United States, Russia, France, China, and the United Kingdom; and other five non-permanent members: Niger, Tunisia, Vietnam, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Estonia whose end of term year is 2021. 

The Security Council is the only U.N. body that can make legally binding decisions like imposing sanctions and authorizing the use of force. This election comes as regional conflicts continue to heat up such as Israel looming illegal annexation of the Palestinian West Bank and Jordan Valley; Venezuela’s unilateral sanctions; the South China Sea tension, among others. 

The diplomats from the U.N. also elected - unopposed - Turkish diplomat Volkan Bozkir as the president of the 75th session of the U.N. General Assembly, who will take up the role later this year.

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