Syria Gaining Ground on UNSC Candidacy
Diplomatic sources have said that the US will probably not try to block Syria's election to a seat at the UN Security Council when election is held by the 189-member UN General Assembly in October.
According to a report by Reuters published on CNN.com Tuesday, Syria has received the endorsement of Asian and Arab nations for a rotating seat on the prestigious 15-member UN Security Council next year, to the consternation of Israel.
"Anyone tempted to oppose Syria should think long and hard about it, David Malone, head of the International Peace Academy, a New York-based think-tank told the agency.
"They have strong support within their immediate region. If they are an endorsed candidate of the Asian region, which is a huge region, it is going to be extremely difficult to challenge them," Malone, a former Canadian U.N. envoy, said on Monday.
The Arab League was pushing for Syria to gain a temporary seat on the UN Security Council, an Arab League official told Syria's official SANA news agency Saturday.
Arab countries want Syria to gain the seat as a reward for standing up against "Israeli aggression" and constantly defending "the right to recover occupied Arab territories," said Said Kamal, an Arab League official for Palestinian affairs.
Kamal said the new Israeli government led by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has attacked Syria's candidacy and warned this contradicted Sharon's recent statements in favor of making peace with Syria and Lebanon.
Israel's resistance shows that the Jewish state "wants to impose defeat on the Arabs," Kamal said.
Syria wishes to replace Tunisia at the end of 2001 as the Arab representative to the UN Security Council from 2002-2004. The Security Council has five permanent members and 10 rotating seats.
Sharon's spokesman, Raanan Gissin, accused Syria of supporting "terrorist" organizations on Friday and said it would be "strange" for Syria to be seated on the council, according to AFP.
According to a report by The Jerusalem Post this week, the US administration considers Syria a key part of any new coalition against Iraq, and therefore it is trying to avoid ruffling feathers in Damascus as it embarks on a campaign to sell a narrower sanctions policy to skeptics in Washington – Albawaba.com
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