When three become two: Austria more equal than others

austriaThere are three candidates currently in competition for two vacant seats on the U.N. Security Council. According to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, all three countries in competition, Iceland, Turkey and Austria, are qualified for the post.

Ban Ki-Moon issued statements from Geneva and New York last week, rejecting allegations that he favoured Austria for the position. It was alleged that he was encouraging member states and U.N. diplomats to support Austria’s application for the Security Council seat.

“The Secretary-General is aware that Austria, Iceland and Turkey are contesting for these two seats for the period 2009-2010. He recognizes that they are all eminently qualified for the seats and he wishes each of them success in their effort to secure the support of member-states of the Organization. As Secretary-General, he does not wish to signify any preference for one over any other,” said a U.N. spokesman.

The U.N. Security Council for 2009-2010 has two vacant seats reserved for Western European countries. The Security Council is comprised of ten non-permanent seats and five permanent seats. The election for the non-permanent seats is scheduled to take place in October 2008.

A message on the website of the Permanent Mission of Iceland to the UN in New York confirmed that “Iceland is a candidate for one of the non-permanent seats allocated to the Western European and Other States Group (WEOG) in the Security Council for the term 2009-2010.”

The statement read: “Iceland is willing and ready to take on an active role for international peace and security by serving on the Security Council.”