Israel pulls out of race for seat on UN security council

Facing an uphill struggle in an election next month, Israel has announced it is pulling out of a race for a seat on. Israel was in a three-way contest with Germany and Belgium for two seats representing the western-democratic group of nations on the UN’s most powerful body starting in January.

The security council has five permanent members – the US, Russia, China, Britain and France – and 10 members elected by the 193-member general assembly for two-year terms. Israel’s withdrawal virtually guarantees Germany and Belgium victory in the 8 June election and seats on the council.

Candidates for non-permanent seats on the council are chosen by regional groups and for 55 years Israel was not part of a regional group, which barred it from many UN positions. Israel announced its withdrawal minutes before WEOG candidates were scheduled to appear and answer questions from UN member states.

Germany’s UN ambassador, Christoph Heusgen, said in response to a question about Israel’s withdrawal, We have never run against a country. There is nothing where we really oppose each other. We went for our own programme. We asked support, and we want also to seek high support from you. He noted there had been a lot of discussion at the UN on how regional groups should put forward candidate countries.

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