Who from Kenya or Djibouti will sit on the UN Security Council?

The UN Security Council, here in meeting in New York, has five permanent members and other non-permanent seats. Johannes EISELE / AFP

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A long diplomatic battle between two African countries will end this Wednesday, June 17, at the UN. Kenya and Djibouti have been fighting for a year to claim the non-permanent African seat which is open within the Security Council for the years 2021 and 2022, replacing the outgoing, South Africa.


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With our correspondent in New York, Carrie Nooten

Diplomats return to the UN for the first time since March. A brief return: the representatives of the 193 countries have to elect the five candidates who will sit on the Security Council from January 2021. With a surprise for the seat reserved for Africa: instead of the usual single candidate presented, the place is disputed by two countries this year: Djibouti and Kenya.

Exceptional health measures oblige, the public poll of the UN General Assembly in New York is likely to last a long time. Each Member State must cast its vote at an agreed time, under the supervision of the chairman of the meeting. And this procedure has to be started again, in the event of a new ballot.

Only candidates in their region, India, Mexico, Canada, Ireland and Norway are expected to be elected. It is the African seat which is the only real stake of the vote. Because for months, Kenya and Djibouti have been campaigning to claim the votes of the member states. And no mediation, not even that of the Egyptian presidency of the AU, has succeeded.

Kenya presents itself, with the official support of the African Union, affirmed in August 2019 and repeated last week. This would be an important political advantage for Kenya, an English-speaking regional power, especially in its disputes with Ethiopia or Somalia. Support that Djibouti considers "  illegal  ", since it was not endorsed by the heads of state: "  The AU examined the situation at the last summit and noted the procedural flaws. Normally, this is where the heads of state validate the official candidate, but they were unable to do so,  "said Djibouti's ambassador Mohamed Siad Doualeh.

Djibouti for its part believes that its turn has come, having sat only once in 1993. The diplomatic success of the summit between Somalia and Somaliland on Sunday seems to him a good argument to prove its pivotal role in a region still very troubled. Djibouti has multiplied diplomatic ties and prides itself on having the support of the Francophonie, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League.

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  • UN
  • Djibouti
  • Kenya