Mon, 10 Oct 1994

Indonesia assured of securing seat on Security Council

By Meidyatama Suryodiningrat

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia is currently primming itself to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), believing it has mustered the required number of votes ahead of next week's election at the General Assembly.

"For election we will need support from two-thirds of those present and voting (at the General Assembly)...That comes to about 90 votes or more and based on our calculations we already have it," said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Alatas upon returning from New York yesterday.

Despite the apparent overwhelming support, Indonesia continues to campaign in order to ensure that the scheduled Oct. 20 vote goes well.

"At this point we are once again confirming the support promised to us. We don't take chances," he said.

The UNSC is made up of 15 countries, of which five -- Britain, the United States, China, France and Russia -- have permanent status while the remaining 10 are elected for two-year terms.

Each year five of the 10 non-permanent seats open up.

Indonesia hopes to fill one of the seats vacated as Djibouti, Pakistan, Brazil, New Zealand and Spain end their two-year terms on Dec. 31, 1994.

"It's no longer just a matter of getting in or not but of trying to get as many votes as possible," said Alatas who was in New York for the 49th session of the UN General Assembly.

He explained that being the sole candidate to fill Asia's seat at the UNSC, it was natural for Indonesia to assume the position.

"There's one seat empty, there's one candidate, why should they not support us? It makes no sense," Alatas argued.

Based on a 1963 amendment, the General Assembly agreed that the 10 non-permanent seats at the UNSC would be divided by geographic representation.

Five seats are allocated to African and Asian states, one to an Eastern European state, two to Latin American and Caribbean states and the remaining two for Western European and other states.

Alatas, who recently underwent a quadruple bypass operation, looked fresh, despite being troubled by a minor cold, as he disembarked from his plane yesterday evening.

He said that in his two weeks at the UN, one of the central themes of discussion was restructuring the UNSC where the Western developed nations are pushing for the inclusion of Japan and Germany as permanent members.

According to Alatas, the developing nations generally support the idea as long as it is part of a package which includes these developing countries.

When asked if he thought the restructuring could be achieved this year, Alatas said that the negotiations still had a long way to go and that he doubted it could be settled by the UN's 50th anniversary next year.

Japan -- Page 6