Ukraine, 4 Others Join Security Council

UNITED NATIONS -- Ukraine, Bangladesh, Jamaica, Mali and Tunisia have been elected by the General Assembly to two-year terms on the prestigious UN Security Council, beginning Jan. 1, 2000.

The election Thursday was to fill five seats on the 15-nation council, responsible for international peace and security, that fall vacant at the end of the year. They are currently held by Bahrain, Brazil, Gabon, Gambia and Slovenia.

Candidates are submitted by each of the world body's regional groups. The African group nominated Mali and Tunisia to succeed Gabon and Gambia, and the Asian group nominated Bangladesh to follow Bahrain.

Jamaica was the nominee of the Latin American and Caribbean group.

But the East European group failed to come up with a single candidate to replace Slovenia, resulting in a contest between Slovakia and Ukraine.

The election took four rounds, with Ukraine leading each time but not managing to get the required two-thirds majority of delegations present and voting in the 188-member Assembly until Slovakia's ambassador, Peter Tomka, withdrew his country's candidacy after the third round of balloting.

On the first round, Ukraine led Slovakia by 92 votes to 79; on the second by 98 to 72; and on the third round by 113 to 57.

On the fourth and final round, after Slovakia withdrew, Ukraine obtained 158 votes while three delegations still cast ballots for Slovakia.

Jamaica's 10-member UN mission includes eight women and two men and its ambassador, Patricia Durrant, will be the only woman permanent representative on the Security Council since Madeleine Albright represented the United States from 1993 to 1997. All the other chief delegates are men.

The Security Council comprises five permanent members with the power of veto - the United States, Russia, Britain, China and France - and 10 nonpermanent members that each serve two-year terms.

The nonpermanent members that will remain on the council for another year are Argentina, Canada, Malaysia, Namibia and the Netherlands.

Among the countries that will join the council on Jan. 1, three have served only once before - Bangladesh and Jamaica in 1979-80 and Mali in 1966-67.

The other two newly-elected members have served twice before -Tunisia in 1959-60 and 1980-81, and Ukraine in 1948-49 and 1984-85.

Slovakia, which joined the United Nations only in 1993, after the break up of Czechoslovakia, has never been a council member.