UN Security Council elects five members for 2-year term

(L to R) The Foreign Ministers from Germany, Heiko Maas; South Africa, Lindiwe Sisulu; Dominican Republic, Miguel Vargas; Indonesia, Retno Marsudi and Belgium, Didier Reynders; pose for photos on the floor of the Security Council afetr a General Assembly meeting to elect the five non-permanent members of the Security Council June 8 at the United Nations in New York. (AFP)
Updated 09 June 2018
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UN Security Council elects five members for 2-year term

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations General Assembly voted on Friday to elect Germany, Belgium, South Africa, the Dominican Republic and Indonesia for a two-year term in the Security Council starting on Jan. 1, 2019.
The council is the only UN body that can make legally binding decisions and has the power to impose sanctions and authorize the use of force.
Indonesia drew more votes than the Maldives in the contested election for one Asia-Pacific seat by 144 to 46, while the other four candidates ran unopposed. Uncontested candidates still need to win more than two-thirds of the overall General Assembly vote to be elected. There were 190 ballots in Friday’s vote.
Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country, will pursue a global comprehensive approach to combat terrorism, radicalism and extremism during its term, the foreign affairs ministry said in a statement.
Indonesia suffered its worst bombing attacks since 2005 last month that left around 30 people dead, including 13 suspected perpetrators.
“Palestinian issues will also be Indonesia’s concern during its non-permanent membership,” the ministry said.
Germany received 184 votes, Belgium had 181, South Africa got 183, and the Dominican Republic had 184 after one round of voting. Regional groups generally agree upon the candidates to put forward and competitive races are increasingly rare.
In a typical year the General Assembly elects five new members, which join the five elected the previous year and the five permanent, veto-power seats: the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia.
The five members giving up their seat at the end of this year are the Netherlands, Sweden, Ethiopia, Bolivia and Kazakhstan.
The five seats not up for election this year are currently held by Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Kuwait, Peru and Poland.


Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

Updated 26 June 2019
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Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

  • But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues
  • The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance

NEW DELHI: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to reduce heightened trade tension with India on Wednesday, promising a renewed focus on negotiating improved trade and investment ties between the two nations.
But Pompeo, on a visit to India, gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues ranging from access to Indian markets for leading American companies to New Delhi’s demands for foreign firms to store Indian data in the country, and exports of steel and aluminum to the United States.
The two nations are “friends who can help each other all around the world,” Pompeo told a joint news conference with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar after they met.
The current differences were expressed “in the spirit of friendship,” he added.
The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance.
In particular, the sudden introduction of new e-commerce rules for foreign investors in February angered the Americans because it showed New Delhi was prepared to move the goalposts to hurt two of the largest US companies, discount retailer Walmart, and Amazon.com Inc.
Walmart last year invested $16 billion to buy control of Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart.
Just days before Pompeo’s visit, India slapped higher retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products following Washington’s withdrawal of key trade privileges for New Delhi.
Jaishankar, a former Indian ambassador to the United States, played down the spat on Wednesday.
“If you trade with someone and they are your biggest trading partner, it is impossible you don’t have trade issues,” he said.
India’s ties with Russia and Iran, both now subject to US sanctions, are also a sore point.
US pressure has led India to stop buying oil from Iran, a top energy supplier. The United States has also stepped up pressure on India not to proceed with its purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia.
The missile deal and Iranian oil were both discussed during their meeting, Jaishankar and Pompeo said, but mentioned no resolution of either at the news conference.
Earlier, Pompeo met Prime Minister Narendra Modi for talks at his official residence in the capital, New Delhi, and they exchanged handshakes in images broadcast on television.
“The Prime Minister expressed his strong commitment to achieve the full potential of bilateral relations in trade and economy, energy, defense, counterterrorism and people-to-people contacts,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, without elaborating.
Pompeo is expected to round off the trip with a policy speech hosted by the US embassy, before departing on Thursday for a summit of leaders of the Group of 20 nations in Japan.