Denmark, Greece, Pakistan, Panama And Somalia Get Seats On The Un Security Council

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Denmark, Greece, Pakistan, Panama and Somalia got seats on the U.N. Security Council on Thursday.

The 15-member council has a powerful body of five permanent, veto-empowered members whose composition reflects its post-World War II founding — China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Then there's a changing cast of 10 countries that serve two-year terms.

To pick them, the 193 members of the U.N. vote for the nominees of regional groupings in a secret ballot whose results are generally close to unanimous but occasionally reflect global tensions. Last year, Slovenia soundly defeated Russia’s close ally Belarus for the seat representing the East European regional group, a vote that showed strong global opposition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

This year, the regional groups put forward Somalia for an African seat, Pakistan for an Asia-Pacific seat, Panama for a Latin America and Caribbean seat, and Denmark and Greece for two mainly Western seats.

The five council members elected Thursday will start their terms on Jan. 1.

The Security Council is charged with maintaining international peace and security but because of Russia’s veto power it has been unable to take action on Ukraine. Because of close U.S. ties to Israel it has not called for a cessation of hostilities in Gaza.

Virtually every country agrees that the Security Council needs to expand and reflect the modern world but the U.N. can't agree how, blocking significant reform.

Almost all of the new members of the Security Council made general statements in favor of peace and diplomacy after the vote.

However, Louis Charbonneau, U.N. director at Human Rights Watch, said that “uncontested elections for seats on the Security Council or any other UN body make a mockery of the word ‘election.'"

“Member countries should give themselves a choice so governments responsible for serious human rights abuses can be rejected,” he said.

In a detailed interview before the vote, Pakistan’s U.N. Ambassador Munir Akram said his country — historically a major contributor to U.N. peacekeeping — would push for the blue-helmeted forces to become more proactive, rather than simply observing the maintenance of existing peace deals.

Pakistani troops have gone under U.N. auspices to dozens of conflicts in Africa, Asia,

“We need to evolve the nature of U.N. peacekeeping to be able to address the kind of conflicts that we are facing today in many parts of the world,” Akram said. “So this is the ongoing discussion which is underway in the U.N.”

“The U.N. needs to have a more proactive role in trying to enforce peace in some of there conflicts,” he added. “It's a discussion that's underway and we hope to contribute to this discussion.”


Associated Press writer Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.