Israel pulls out of race for UN Security Council seat

United Nations (United States) (AFP) –


Israel on Friday dropped out of a race for a Security Council seat in 2019 and 2020 following a campaign by Arab states at the United Nations to block the bid.

The decision leaves the path clear for Germany and Belgium to take the two seats available for countries of the Western Europe and Others group when the General Assembly votes next month.

"After consulting with our partners, including our good friends, the state of Israel has decided to postpone its candidacy for a seat on the Security Council," said a statement from the Israeli mission.

It was Israel's first attempt to win a seat at the 15-member council.

Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki said last month that Arab countries were "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."

South Africa and the Dominican Republic are set to win two of the five seats up for election.

Indonesia and the Maldives will be competing for one seat representing the Asia-Pacific group of countries.

The Security Council is made up of five permanent members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- while the ten other seats are filled by elected members that serve two-year stints.