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Montevideo, October 19th 2018 - 14:06 UTC

New names for the UN Security Council deadlock

Tuesday, October 17th 2006 - 21:00 UTC
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Mexico and Chile have begun Tuesday informal contacts with other Latinamerican countries to agree on a consensus or compromise candidate for the United Nations Security Council seat which remains deadlocked between Guatemala and Venezuela.

Following two days of secret balloting in the UN General Assembly none of the two candidates have been able to obtain the 128 votes, although Guatemala has been all along ahead and closest to the goal.

Uruguay, Costa Rica, Panama and Dominican Republic are some of the alternative members mentioned, but before that happens one or both of the current candidates must walk down, something which so far seems distant because of the President Chavez administration insistence in running for the seat.

"We're not giving up the fight, no way", said Venezuelan Ambassador Arias Cárdenas. "There are UN members that have struggled decades to be free from arm twisting and pressures. We already have a victory: things can't be imposed as before in spite of the brutal, grotesque lobbying of Washington", he insisted.

Before the voting begun Venezuela was confident it had garnered sufficient, or promised, support to be elected without much difficulties.

Guatemala's Foreign Affairs minister Pert Rosenthal was more sober, conditioning the withdrawal of his country's candidacy to the persistence of the impasse and if Venezuela also accepts to step down.

"There's no reason to abandon the race now, we've been ahead in all the ballots; we're optimistic but not obstinate. If in several days the two thirds can't be achieved, we'd consider stepping down. We never made a crusade out of this election nor do we have oil dollars", said Rosenthal.

Guatemala also argues that they have contributed to the United Nations peacekeeping forces and never held a seat in the Security Council. "We've been talking to both candidates; maybe a reflection pause is needed so each country can assess if they must continue with their candidacy. Maybe tomorrow we might have a new scenario", said Mexican ambassador Enrique Berruga.

"I feel there's a greater propensity to talk, other potential candidates are emerging. Chile is actively talking with all but we must be patient", said Chilean Foreign Affairs minister Alejandro Foxley adding that "at the end of the day I think what is going to happen is what Chile has always stood for: a consensus candidate that will represent the whole of Latinamerica".

Chile together with Peru and Ecuador has abstained in the UN Security Council voting.

However Foxley underlined that both candidacies are "legitimate and Chile has excellent relations with both countries, and we're talking of sovereign decisions".

Chilean UN ambassador Heraldo Muñoz said he was hopeful there wouldn't be a repeat of the 1979 dispute between Cuba and Colombia for the Latinamerican seat in the Security Council. After three months and 154 voting rounds, Mexico emerged as the consensus candidate.

"But that was Cold War times, and we're no longer in that situation", said Muñoz.

Although the ballot is secret Guatemala has the support of United States, Europe, Colombia, Canada, Central America and Mexico, and Venezuela, besides Mercosur, according to President Hugo Chavez, the Arab League, the African Union, the Caribbean Community, the non Aligned Movement, Russia and China.

Previous to the voting a confident Venezuela distributed in UN corridors posters saying that the "Security Council reform begins with the election of independent members; faith and trust in the democratization of the United Nations".

Uruguay, a founding member of the UN and with a long record of support to the UN, besides the fact half its Army is involved in peace keeping missions is considered the favorite alternative. However Uruguayan authorities downplayed the reports and said any decision on the issue "will be agreed among all members of Mercosur".

Categories: Mercosur.

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