Ireland offers friendly advice on UAE joining UN Security Council

Emirates seeks to follow Ireland and win non-permanent seat on council

FILE PHOTO: Singer Bono of Irish band U2 and co-founder of ONE organization waves as he arrives at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, July 24, 2017.     REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo
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Ireland’s ambassador to the UN, Geraldine Byrne Nason, offered the UAE some friendly advice on its effort to join the world body’s Security Council: be yourself, make new friends and stick to your principles.

After a tough contest with Canada and Norway, Ireland was elected to the 15-member Security Council in June and will take its seat next month.

The UAE is running for one of its two-year places in the 2022-2023 term.

Ms Nason said it was “pretty remarkable” to fend off heavyweight Canada, but even small countries such as Ireland and the UAE could secure support on the world stage by being straight-talking, courageous and upright.

“We stuck to our guns, we're principled, we're independent," she said on Tuesday. "We're a feisty country that is consistent in its foreign policy.

“I think that that, frankly, undervalued quality of authenticity ... in this entirely choppy environment internationally, comes through.”

Unlike Ireland, the UAE is expected to secure its seat unopposed. It is vying for a seat that is allocated by convention within Arab states.

The Emirates would effectively replace Tunisia after its term finishes at the end of 2021.

But the process can be arduous and involves a campaign, diplomatic soirees and scrutiny from watchdog groups in the run-up to a vote in the assembly by all 193 UN members in the middle of next year.

Ms Nason said the UAE’s envoy to the UN, Lana Nusseibeh, was “preparing very well” for the campaign and she looked forward to working with the UAE on improving lives for women in war zones.

She said Ireland’s campaign was aided by Irish rocker Bono, the U2 frontman and humanitarian, who appeared at the UN in June 2018.

“If you can grow a Bono, that would be a help, of course,” Ms Nason said.

There are big differences between the UAE and Ireland, but they also have much in common, with similar populations, economies and territories.

The UN Security Council has five, veto-wielding permanent members: Russia, China, the US, Britain and France.

Ten other seats go to elected non-permanent members who can vote on resolutions but do not have veto power.

The council meets regularly on threats to international peace and security and is the ultimate decision-maker on resolutions imposing international sanctions, authorising the use of military force and launching peacekeeping operations.