New York, Jan 3 (DPA) Libya has taken over the hot seat of the UN Security Council presidency as the African country and four other countries Wednesday began their two-year terms in the UN body whose political decisions are binding on the 192 UN members.
Libya, Vietnam, Croatia, Costa Rica and Burkina Faso are the newest elected members on the 15-nation council. Libya became president during the first month of its tenure because of the alphabetical rotation of the post.
Usually the council president spends the first days of the month discussing the month’s work programme in advance.
Once considered a pariah in the diplomatic world for its role in the 1988 bombing of a Pan American commercial plane over Lockerbie, Scotland, Libya has regained international acceptance.
The first step to acceptance was the agreement by its leader, Moamer Gaddafi, in 1999 to allow the two Libyan bombing suspects to stand trial in Scotland. That was followed by his abandonment of his nuclear programme and the help he extended to peace negotiations to end the ethnic war in Darfur.
The downing of the PanAm Flight killed 270 people.
Libya, Costa Rica and Burkina Faso served on the council before. Vietnam and Croatia are joining the council for the first time.
Membership of the council for 2008 includes the five permanent members – the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain. The 10 elected members include Belgium, Indonesia, Italy, Panama and South Africa.