RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — A campaign by Arab states to block Israel’s bid for a Security Council seat has gained support weeks ahead of a scheduled UN vote, the Palestinian Authority foreign minister said Thursday.
“We are doing everything possible to convince as many countries as possible to block the vote on Israel’s bid for a seat at the Security Council,” Riyad al-Maliki told reporters in Riyadh ahead of the Arab Summit this weekend.
“We need to secure the one-third vote necessary for a veto, and we believe we can, as Arab and Islamic states,” the minister added.
Maliki said the Palestinian effort to block the vote had also received significant support from European allies.
Israel, Germany and Belgium are in the running for two coveted spots at the Security Council, the UN’s most powerful branch.
The 193 members of the UN General Assembly are scheduled to vote on the seats on June 8. To win election to the council, candidate-countries must win a two-thirds majority.
“A country that violates international laws and conventions, that violates UN resolutions and principles, cannot sit down to dictate the fate of security and peace around the world,” Maliki said of Israel.
“This is a clear violation of these principles and we must work to stop their plans. We need to make sure there are no surprises,” he added.
Last month, Germany rejected claims that it violated a supposed decades-old agreement to let Israel run unopposed for the Security Council seat.
Pro-Israel activists in the United States accused Berlin of not honoring an agreement struck almost 20 years ago when the Jewish state joined the Western European and Others (WEOG) regional group at the UN.
The deal purportedly included a promise to let Israel run uncontested for one of the non-permanent seats reserved for the regional group, but Germany denies that such a pledge was made.
“It’s always been the case in the past that there are different candidacies,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told journalists in New York where he was lobbying for Berlin’s candidacy.
“We do not run against anyone. We are running for a seat at the Security Council,” Maas said.
In all, five seats are up for grabs but three of those are reserved for Africa, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region, which traditionally have rallied around one candidate from their group.
The five new members will serve a two-year term starting in 2019.