United Nations

Rwanda wins seat on Security Council despite reservations

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 October, 2012, 3:58am

Rwanda has won a seat on the UN Security Council despite accusations by a UN panel that Rwanda's defence minister commands a rebellion in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rwanda was unopposed in its bid on Thursday for the African seat on the council that South Africa will vacate at the end of December, but still needed approval from two-thirds of the UN General Assembly members present to secure the two-year term. It won 148 votes in the 193-nation assembly.

Argentina was also elected to the council unopposed, winning 182 votes. Australia won a seat with 140 votes, Luxembourg with 131 votes and South Korea with 149. Cambodia, Bhutan and Finland failed to secure two-year seats on the council.

There are five veto-holding permanent members of the council - the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China - and 10 temporary members without veto power. Thursday's election was for the term from January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2014.

Rwanda's government said that it would work with all members of the council to ensure "it is responsive and reflective of the views and aspirations of the developing world".

"Rwanda's troubling and tragic past allows it to bring to the UN [Security Council] a unique perspective on matters of war and peace," it posted on a Twitter account, RwandaUNSC, created for its Security Council term.

Before the vote, the Congolese delegation told the General Assembly it objected to Rwanda joining the Security Council, accusing its neighbour of harbouring "war criminals operating in the eastern part of the DRC and who are being sought by international justice".

A confidential UN report says Rwanda and Uganda continue to support rebels in their fight against Congolese government troops in the east of the country. Countries including the US have suspended some aid to Rwanda.