Belgium and Germany are running unopposed in the competition for two nonpermanent seats on the UN Security Council, after Israel withdrew its bid to join the 15-member body.
The 193-member U.N. General Assembly is due to vote next month on five new members for a two-year term starting on January 1, 2019. Israel, Germany and Belgium were competing for two seats allocated to the Western European and Others Group.
Israel had withdrawn because of its low chances of winning, due to the opposition of Arab and generally Muslim states. Germany and Belgium still need to win more than two-thirds of the overall General Assembly vote to be elected.
Regional groups generally agree upon the candidates to put forward and competitive races for seats are increasingly rare. Each year the General Assembly elects five new members.
Richard Grenell, who was sworn in as the U.S. ambassador to Germany last week, said in March that the United States had brokered a deal in the 1990s with countries in the U.N.’s Western European and Others Group to allow Israel to run uncontested for a seat.
Grenell, who was the U.S. spokesman at the U.N. from 2001 to 2009, tweeted about the issue on March 14. “Israel has waited 19 years! The US must demand that Europe keep its word,” he said.
German diplomats denied any such agreement was made. The Israeli mission to the U.N. declined to comment at the time on Grenell’s tweet.
The council, on which the five permanent members – the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia – hold veto powers, is the only U.N. body that can make legally binding decisions, as well as imposing sanctions and authorizing the use of force.
To ensure geographical representation on the council, there are five seats for African and Asian states; one for Eastern European states; two for the Latin American and Caribbean states; and two for Western European and other states.
Indonesia and the Maldives are competing for one Asia-Pacific seat in 2019-20, while South Africa and the Dominican Republic are running uncontested for the African and Latin American and Caribbean group seats.