Asean to back member candidates as UN representatives

Asean to back member candidates as UN representatives

New York - ASEAN foreign ministers yesterday agreed to endorse potential representatives to the United Nations as "Asean candidates" with all Asean members throwing their support behind the chosen candidate.

This means Thailand's bid to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) would be made as a representative of ASEAN with all members throwing their support behind the bid, Foreign Minister Surapong Tohvichakchaikul said yesterday.

Malaysia would be first to join the race for a seat as a UNSC non-permanent member for a two-year term from 2015 to 2016. Thailand would then seek election to the UNSC as a representative of ASEAN in 2017 and 2018.

Asean members would help the two countries campaign for their candidacies respectively, Surapong said. "It is a tradition that we [Asean] do not compete with each other, but instead help members have a role on such UN bodies," he said.

This principle would be applied to all members seeking elected positions on UN bodies. Thailand and Vietnam would also apply for membership of the UN Human Rights Council for different terms.

However, members would not take ASEAN assistance for granted, but would also work to ensure the success of the candidates. Surapong led the Thai delegation this week to meet bilateral and multilateral counterparts in a bid to seek support for its UNSC bid.

Yesterday, Surapong met leaders from Guatemala, Ecuador and Kosovo at the UN to seek their support. On Tuesday, the Thai cabinet threw its support behind Kosovo and officially endorsed it as an independent state.

Surapong also signed a memorandum of understanding with Ecuador on visa exemptions for diplomats and officials as well as a document to boost diplomatic ties with the South American country.

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