IN SHORT

Slovakia takes seat on UN Security Council

SLOVAKIA took its seat as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on January 1, 2006, the TASR news wire reported.

Slovakia was the only candidate for the seat reserved for the East European regional group. It succeeds Romania to the post and will serve a term from January 1, 2006 till December 31, 2007.

According to Foreign Affairs Minister Eduard Kukan, Slovakia plans to focus on the future status of the Serbian province of Kosovo, the question of divided Cyprus, the Middle East peace process, and UN reforms.

"We want to support the foundation of a Peace Building Committee and a Human Rights Committee," Kukan said. He stressed that the UN has an irreplaceable role in the development of international relations in the 21st century, thus it needs to be strengthened.

Slovakia will chair the committee for weapons of mass destruction and it will be vice-chair of the committee overseeing developments in Iraq. It will also be vice-chair of the so-called Syria committee, which is looking into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri. In February 2007, Slovakia will take up the presidency of the UNSC, which rotates among the members. This will enable it to set the agenda for the council's sessions.

Slovakia was chosen to become a non-permanent member of the UNSC on October 10, 2005, when it received the votes of 185 of the 191 UN member states.

The United Nations Security Council is regarded as the world's most influential body. It makes decisions on wars, imposes sanctions and takes measures to sustain peace in the world. The UN Security Council has five permanent members (Britain, China, France, Russia and the USA) and 10 non-permanent members.

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