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Austria and Turkey win Security Council election

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081017/ap_on_re_ca/un_un_security_council Austria and Turkey win Security Council election By CARLEY PETESCH, Associated Press
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 17, 2008
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      http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081017/ap_on_re_ca/un_un_security_council

      Austria and Turkey win Security Council election
      By CARLEY PETESCH, Associated Press Writer Carley Petesch, Associated Press Writer – Fri Oct 17, 5:45 pm ET

      UNITED NATIONS – Japan handily defeated Iran for a non-permanent seat on the U.N. security council and Austria and Turkey edged out Iceland in secret ballot voting Friday.

      Iran — under U.N. sanctions for its nuclear program — received only 32 votes from the U.N. members compared to 158 for Japan for the Asian seat.

      Austria and Turkey beat Iceland in the battle for two non-permanent European seats on the 15-member council in voting at a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly.

      The Security Council is the powerhouse of the U.N. with the ability to impose sanctions and dispatch peacekeepers.

      The other two seats went to Mexico, which will represent Latin America, and Uganda, which will represent Africa; both ran unopposed.

      General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann said after the balloting that Austria received 133 votes, Turkey 151 votes, Uganda 181 votes and Mexico 185. Iceland, which had been considered by many to be a strong candidate until the recent economic crisis, received only 87 votes.

      Candidates must receive a two-thirds majority to win a seat.

      "It's a disappointment for us not to get more votes because like other countries, we have gotten a lot of promises that have not been kept," said Iceland's Foreign Minister Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir, adding she "wholeheartedly" congratulated Austria and Turkey for their victory.

      Gisladottir said her country was going through difficult economic times, but said that no one mentioned that would affect the voting.

      When asked if she thought the UK freeze on Icelandic banks had affected the vote, she said, "It was not helpful what the British did, enforcing and activating a kind of terrorist law toward a small nation."

      Britain froze the assets of collapsed Icelandic banks to protect the savings of thousands of Britons and scores of local governments. British Ambassador John Sawers said the two countries had resolved the issue and he commisserated with the Nordic country on its loss.

      He was not as apologetic towards Iran.

      "I'd just like to highlight how fitting it is that Iran secured only 32 votes," he said, adding that this "comprehensive feat, a thrashing of Iran is a very important signal of the whole memberships' concern about Iran's actions."

      U.S. Deputy Ambassador Alejandro Wolff echoed those comments.

      "It's encouraging and important for Iran to understand that its continued violation of international binding resolutions of the Security Council is reflected in this very poor showing," he said.

      In September, the council unanimously approved a new resolution reaffirming previous sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt its uranium enrichment program and offering Tehran incentives to do so.

      Iran's U.N. Mission released a statement after the election charging that the voting was affected by "unfair behavior and a false propoganda campaign by certain major powers."

      Ambassadors Wolff and Sawers both said they supported Japan eventually becoming a permanent member of the Security Council. This is the country's tenth term.

      Ten of the council's 15 seats are filled by regional groups for two-year stretches, including those voted today. The other five are occupied by its veto-wielding permanent members: Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

      The five countries elected to the council will take their seats in January, replacing Belgium, Indonesia, Italy, Panama and South Africa.

      (This version CORRECTS ADDS reax from Iran and UK; DELETES some comments from Iceland; corrects spelling in graf 11.)
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