UN Security Council welcomes two first-time members

Mozambique and Switzerland hail 'historic' occasion as they join Ecuador, Japan and Malta in taking up the seats they won unopposed in June

Winning a seat on the Security Council is considered a diplomatic accomplishment that can raise a nation's profile globally. AFP
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The UN Security Council has formally welcomed Ecuador, Japan, Malta, Mozambique and Switzerland, who took up the two-year seats they won in June.

The ambassadors of the five countries installed their flags alongside those of other council members outside the chambers of the powerful body on Tuesday, continuing a tradition started by Kazakhstan in 2018.

The representatives of Mozambique and Switzerland called it a “historic date” and said they felt a “deep sense of humility and responsibility”.

This is the second time Malta is joining the council, and the fourth and record 12th for Ecuador and Japan, respectively.

The Security Council has 15 members and China, France, Russia, the UK and the US are permanent veto-wielding members.

The other 10 are elected by the 193-nation General Assembly to serve for only two years. They are selected by region in a move designed to include all continents.

To many, winning a seat on the council is considered a diplomatic accomplishment that can raise a nation's profile globally and afford small countries a bigger voice than they might otherwise have in major peace and security matters around the world.

The council can authorise peacekeeping missions, approve sanctions and speak out on conflicts and flashpoints, while also looking into matters such as terrorism and arms control.

Council members also can use the platform to highlight emerging concerns or topics of particular interest to them.

Countries often campaign for a seat on the Security Council for years. However, about 60 nations have never sat on the UN body since it was formed in 1946.

The five newest members replace India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico and Norway, whose terms ended on December 31.

The other members whose terms have yet to expire are Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and the UAE.

Updated: January 04, 2023, 8:00 AM