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Syria Mounting Bid For Seat on UN Security Council

Monday, August 28, 2000 (12:00 am)
Posted in: Archive

Syria Mounting Bid For Seat on UN Security Council
A diplomatic dogfight is taking shape at the United Nations, as Israel ponders how to foil Syria's drive to become one of the ten non-permanent members of the Security Council.

Israeli officials are increasingly concerned with the growing momentum of the Syrian bid for a seat on the UN's top decision-making body. Elections are planned for November for the next grouping of 10 temporary members to serve for two years on the Security Council alongside the five permanent members – the US, Russia, UK, France and China.

It has become a tradition at the Security Council that one Arab country is included among the non-permanent members. Currently, Tunisia holds the post. Now Syria is hoping to fill the position. Syria's bid has already garnered significant Arab and Asian support at the UN. It is also believed that there is African support for Syria. And in recent days, such international powers as France, Germany, Russia and China have reportedly agreed to support the Syrian initiative.

It remains unclear whether the US will join Israel in mounting a serious campaign to block the Syrian bid. In the past, Washington placed serious obstacles to the inclusion of certain Arab countries in the Security Council because of their alleged involvement in terrorism. During the 1990s, the UK and US succeeded in preventing the inclusion of Libya on the Security Council, and supported the entry of Egypt as an alternative. Syria remains on the US State Department's official list of states that sponsor international terrorism.

The Israeli ambassador to the UN, Yehuda Lancry, said yesterday that the candidacy of Syria contradicts article 23 of the international body's charter that emphasizes candidates for Security Council membership must contribute to international peace and security.

Israeli sources say it may be difficult to lobby the US to stand against the Syrian candidacy like it did against Libya and Sudan, because Syria has already participated in peace talks with Israel. US Secretary of State Colin Powell just met in Damascus with Syrian leader Bashar Assad as part of the Bush Administration's efforts to revive the Gulf War coalition against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Used with Permission from International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

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