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Azerbaijan wins marathon UN vote duel with Slovenia

25 october 2011, 14:12
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©Tengrinews
©Tengrinews
After 17 rounds of voting, Azerbaijan won a hotly contested vote for a UN Security Council seat on Monday when Slovenia withdrew complaining about the conduct of the vote, AFP reports.

Azerbaijan took the seat for Eastern Europe, joining Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo as the countries that will join the Security Council for two year terms starting on January 1.

The election started on Friday at the 193 member UN General Assembly when the other four countries won their places. Slovenia withdrew after the 16th round of voting when it got 77 votes to 116 for Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan secured the necessary two thirds majority in the final ballot when it was the only candidate. It got 155 votes, while 13 countries still backed Slovenia.

Azerbaijan, a country of nine million, is an oil-rich former Soviet republic with a strongarm leader. Slovenia, a former Yugoslav Republic of two million, and its membership of the European Union was seen by many diplomats as the main reason it lost.

EU members Britain, France, Germany and Portugal are already on the Security Council.

"Our feelings, you can imagine after 17 rounds of voting," said Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.

"I think, honestly speaking, that we expected we were going to be elected," he told reporters, stressing the 40 vote gap at each round since Friday night.

Mammadyarov praised Slovenia's decision to withdraw. He said the rival government had recognized that the margin was "a pretty serious one."

Slovenia was unhappy with the election result however.

"We don't approve of the way this campaign was held, we don't approve the way these elections were held," Slovenia's Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar told General Assembly.

"However the current result speaks for itself and so the support of this body is obvious and that is why I am withdrawing our bid," the minister added, without giving the reasons for his complaint.

Bosnia, Brazil, Gabon, Lebanon and Nigeria will leave rotating seats on the 15-member council on December 31.

The new nations will join Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal and South Africa as non-permanent members of the Security Council.

Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States are the permanent members.

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