UNITED NATIONS, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Pakistan, Morocco, Togo and Guatemala were elected on Friday to the 15-nation U.N.Security Council for 2012 and 2013, and Islamabad's envoy said he looked forward to working with fellow council member India.
The race for a fifth council seat, representing Eastern Europe, was adjourned until Monday after neither of the two candidates, Azerbaijan and Slovenia, was able to win a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly after nine votes.
In the most competitive council elections for years, only Guatemala ran unopposed within its region. Pakistan scraped through in the first round of voting, defeating Kyrgyzstan for an Asian seat with the minimum required tally.
Morocco scored an easy first-round victory, while the small West African state of Togo won out in the third round with a tally more than double Mauritania's. That saved sub-Saharan Africa the embarrassment of ending up with only one of the continent's three seats against two for Arab North Africa.
For Eastern Europe, Azerbaijan and Slovenia battled it out all day after a third candidate, Hungary, pulled out after trailing in the first ballot. The race swung both ways, but Azerbaijan led Slovenia by the end of the day with 113 votes to 77, still 14 votes short of clinching a win.
Pakistani Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon welcomed his country's election to the United Nations' elite body and said he expected to work well with the ambassador of Pakistan's archrival India, Hardeep Singh Puri, next year.
“You have seen that the usual tendencies have not erupted between us and that is a good factor,” Haroon said. “Perhaps both of us have been beneficial in starting dialogue between both the countries.” India joined the council this year and will stay through 2012. India and Pakistan have fought three wars, mainly over Kashmir, since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.
The last time the two nuclear-armed states served together
on the council was in 1977. U.N. diplomats said they do not expect any regional tension as a result of Pakistan joining again. Pakistan has served six previous council terms, RESISTING SANCTIONS
The Security Council is the powerhouse of the United Nations, with the ability to impose sanctions and dispatch peacekeeping forces.
There are five veto-holding, nuclear-armed permanent members of the council -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China -- and 10 temporary elected members without vetoes. With India and Pakistan on the council next year, seven of the 15 members will be nuclear powers.
Lebanon, Nigeria, Gabon, Bosnia and Brazil come off the council in January. The four temporary members that will remain through 2012 besides India are Colombia, Germany, Portugal and South Africa.
Western diplomats said it is likely that Pakistan will take over from Brazil by joining Russia and China, India and South Africa in resisting renewed U.S. and European pressure to sanction nations like Syria and Iran.
In Africa, the African Union endorsed only Togo and Mauritania. Morocco does not belong to the AU, having pulled out of its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity, in 1984 after a Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic proclaimed by the independence-seeking Polisario Front in the disputed Western Sahara was admitted to the OAU.
Morocco's crushing council victory, with 151 of the 193 assembly members supporting it, looked likely to bolster Rabat in its continuing dispute with Polisario. Morocco annexed Western Sahara after colonial power Spain pulled out in 1975.
Moroccan Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri told reporters that his country had prevailed “despite the attempts which have been made, but in vain, to exclude Morocco from this competition” because it did not belong to the AU.
“Today a broad majority of African states decided to show solidarity with Morocco, to show confidence in Morocco, to support Morocco,” he said. “Our candidature was legitimate because of the principle of rotation.” Morocco has been on the Security Council twice before, most recently in 1992-1993.