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Azerbaijan gets UN Security Council seat

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 4:53 AM EDT, Tue October 25, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The U.S. congratulates the new non-permanent members of the Security Council
  • Slovenia drops its bid after 16 rounds of voting
  • Azerbaijan and Slovenia had been deadlocked over the fifth seat
  • Countries are voted onto the Security Council by all 193 U.N. member nations

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- Azerbaijan was awarded the open seat on the U.N. Security Council Monday after Slovenia dropped its bid.

Four countries, including Pakistan, were elected last week to join the Security Council in January as non-permanent members for two-year terms. Also elected, via secret ballot, were Guatemala, Morocco and Togo.

They join the Security Council's five permanent members -- China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States -- plus five countries elected to two-year, non-permanent membership last year -- Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal and South Africa.

Azerbaijan and Slovenia were locked in a contest for the fifth seat this year. Azerbaijan was the clear front-runner and after 16 rounds of voting, Slovenia decided to pull out.

Voting was conducted in the U.N. General Assembly. Countries are voted onto the Security Council by all 193 U.N. member nations.

"Our campaign was always for Slovenia, for the values that we represent. We were never campaigning against any other candidate," said Samuel Zbogar, Slovenia's foreign minister, by way of announcing his country's decision to withdraw.

"We don't approve (of) the way this campaign was held and we don't approve (of) the way these elections were held. However, the current result speaks for itself," he said.

When contacted by CNN later to elaborate on the county's objections, the Slovenian Mission to the United Nations declined to elaborate.

Representatives from various countries lined up to extend their sympathies to the losing candidate. Slovenia entered the race for a Security Council seat some 11 years ago.

Starting in January, the council will have as members seven of the nine nations known to have nuclear weapons: China, France, India, Pakistan, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom. Absent will be Israel and North Korea.

Guatemala will serve on the council for the first time after a failed 2006 bid. That race, against Venezuela, lasted three weeks and 48 rounds of voting, the third-longest in U.N. history.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice released a statement late Monday, congratulating the new non-permanent members of the Security Council.

"In the coming year, the Security Council will address many pressing global challenges, including nuclear non-proliferation, counter-terrorism, conflict prevention and resolution, promotion of democracy and human rights, and the oversight of complex UN field operations, and the United States looks forward to strong partnership with the incoming members," it read.

Leaving the council will be Brazil, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Gabon, Lebanon and Nigeria.

CNN's Richard Roth, Joe Vaccarello and Mick B. Krever contributed to this report.

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