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St Vincent and the Grenadines Becomes Smallest Nation to Hold a Seat in the UN Security Council


St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves (left) with others elected to the UN Security Council. (Photo: UN)

The Caribbean country of St Vincent and the Grenadines defeated El Salvador in a vote for a seat on the United Nations (UN) Security Council, becoming the smallest nation to sit on the body that is charged with ensuring international peace and security.

Following a secret ballot at the UN headquarters in New York last Friday, St Vincent and the Grenadines was one of five countries elected by members of the UN General Assembly to the Security Council. The others were Estonia, N****, Tunisia, Vietnam. All five will take up their seats as non-permanent members of the Security Council in January 2020, replacing Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Kuwait, Peru and Poland.

El Salvador had competed with St Vincent and the Grenadines to represent the Latin American and Caribbean group on the Security Council. The CARICOM nation received 185 votes to the El Salvador’s six votes. There were two abstentions in the voting process.

Speaking to the press outside the General Assembly Hall, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves described the election of his multi-island nation of around 110,000 people, as a “historic occasion”.

He said his country intends to work very closely with other members of the Security Council.

“We will work together for peace and security. The United Nations has its weaknesses, it has its limitations, but it has profound strengths and possibilities which are displayed daily,” Prime Minister Gonsalves said.

Every year, five countries are elected to the 15-member Council – 10 of whom are non-permanent – for a two-year term, according to a geographical rotation set by the Assembly in 1963, to ensure fair regional representation: five from African and Asian and Pacific States; one from Eastern Europe; two from Latin American States; and two from Western European and Other States (WEOG).

N****, Tunisia and Viet Nam were elected unopposed in last Friday’s vote. Romania lost out to Estonia in the East European group.

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