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Canada loses its four-year bid to secure a seat on UN Security Council

Canada loses its four-year bid to secure a seat on UN Security Council

| @indiablooms | 18 Jun 2020, 03:15 pm

Ottawa/IBNS: Canada's Liberal Government has lost a four-year bid for one of two available temporary UN Security Council seats by getting the third position, behind Norway and Ireland, media reports said.

Despite a high-profile campaign led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada fell short of 20 votes of the 128 needed to win a seat.

Norway and Ireland won the two available temporary seats, with 130 and 128 votes respectively.

Besides Norway and Ireland, Mexico and India also garnered seats.

Two African nations, Kenya and Djibouti will go to a second ballot to determine a victor.

It was a setback for Trudeau, Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne and other Canada's high-level officials who had been campaigning around the world to secure one of the two available rotating seats.

Throughout the campaign, federal officials promoted the Canadian values of peace, freedom, democracy and human rights, said Trudeau in a statement and added,

Speaking on the issue, Trudeau said: “Throughout every step of our campaign, and in a time of global uncertainty, we promoted the Canadian values of peace, freedom, democracy, and human rights. We listened and learned from other countries, which opened new doors for cooperation to address global challenges, and we created new partnerships that increased Canada’s place in the world. This important engagement has contributed to our broader efforts to tackle the most important challenges of our time, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and has acted as a foundation for further international cooperation on other key issues."

"We will continue to pursue this approach at the United Nations and in other international forums – because Canada does well, and Canadians do well when we strengthen our international relationships and fully engage on the world stage," added Trudeau.

During a news conference in New York on Wednesday, Champagne said the campaign was an opportunity for Canada to renew and strengthen bilateral relationships around the globe.

The federal government has spent more than $2.3 million on its quest for a seat.

NDP foreign affairs critic Jack Harris said that Canada through its membership in the G7, G20 and other global organizations can still have a positive influence on other countries.

Former Quebec premier Jean Charest, who served as special envoy to bolster Canada's bid, said many countries had already committed their votes by the time Canada entered the race.

Canada put forward its candidacy in 2016, about a decade after Ireland (2005) and Norway (2007) announced they were running.

When asked during the news conference by Conservative foreign affairs critic Leona Alleslev whether concessions in the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade talks affected the UN security council seat, Chrystia Freeland, the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and thirteenth Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs said: "I am quite certain that Canadians and the allies admire the work that we did as a country in re-negotiating the new NAFTA. Canada is today the only G7 country that has a trade agreement with every other G7 country. At a time of rising protectionism, a time our economy is going through a crisis created by the coronavirus."

Shortly before the announcement of the results, Trudeau cited Canada's record on combating climate change, promoting peace and security, and supporting developing countries and women's rights.

He said no matter what happens, Canada will continue to fight to reduce global conflict and social inequities.

"Canada has continued to be a strong voice on the world stage. Because this is what Canada does well and we will continue to do it," he said.

"Yes, a seat on the UN Security Council will be an additional lever and an extra way that Canada can make sure that our voice and our values are being heard at the highest levels. But we will continue to make a difference in the world and defend multilateralism, not just because it's good for the world, but because it's good for Canadians."

Many observers argued that given Canada's relatively smaller contributions to global peacekeeping and international development aid, Canada was facing a tough challenge from its competitors, Ireland  and Norway.

The last time Canada held a seat was 1999 – 2000.

(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)




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