UNITED NATIONS: Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain and Venezuela won coveted seats on the UN Security Council Thursday, but Turkey suffered a humbling defeat in its bid to join the world’s “top table.”
The five countries garnered the required two-thirds support from the 193-country UN General Assembly during three rounds of voting that ended with Turkey picking up only 60 votes.
Locked in a tight race against New Zealand and Spain, Turkey had dispatched Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on a high-profile mission to New York this week to lobby for votes.
Turkey’s poor showing was seen by some UN diplomats as disapproval of Ankara’s handling of the crisis sparked by the jihadist advance in Syria and the regime’s authoritarian slide under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Angola, Malaysia and Venezuela were virtually assured to win seats, as their candidacies had been put forward by their region and they ran unopposed on their slates.
Venezuela won a resounding total of 181 votes, despite criticism from rights groups and the United States over its support for Iran, Syria and other hardline regimes at loggerheads with the West.
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro called the vote “a victory, a world record of support, love and confidence. One hundred eighty-one countries have said ‘here we are, we support you.'”
“We should feel happiness and joy in our hearts that Venezuela is a beloved country in the world,” he added, speaking in Caracas.
“To those birds of ill omen who say Venezuela is isolated in the world — who is isolated? The country that received 181 votes?”
Rights groups have pointed to Venezuela’s record on the UN Human Rights Council as a cause for worry and diplomats also expressed concern about its stance on the war in Syria.
US Ambassador Samantha Power urged Venezuela to work cooperatively on the council.
“Unfortunately, Venezuela’s conduct at the UN has run counter to the spirit of the UN Charter and its violations of human rights at home are at odds with the Charter’s letter,” she said.
Angola won 190 votes, Malaysia picked up 187, New Zealand 145 and Spain 132.