Latin America endorses Panama for UNSC seat | india | Hindustan Times
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Latin America endorses Panama for UNSC seat

india Updated: Nov 04, 2006 12:41 IST

Panama was chosen to represent Latin America in the UN Security Council after a three-week saga that saw Guatemala and fierce US critic Venezuela fail in their rival bids for the seat.

The UN Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC) on Friday unanimously endorsed Panama as its choice for the non-permanent council seat vacated by Argentina on December 31.

"Panama will represent the GRULAC," Brazil's UN Ambassador Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg announced after the 33-member group reached its decision.

"There was no vote. The endorsement was by consensus," Panama's UN Ambassador Ricardo Alberto Arias told reporters.

The announcement climaxed three weeks of high drama during which US-backed Guatemala and leftist President Hugo Chavez's Venezuela battled through 47 rounds of voting in the General Assembly that all ended in deadlock.

Guatemala, which Caracas sought to portray as a US puppet, led in all but one round of voting but failed to secure the two-thirds majority required to gain the coveted seat.

The two rivals eventually withdrew from the race to make way for Panama, which will now be formally elected by the 192-member General Assembly on Tuesday.

The GRULAC endorsement was delayed by 24 hours after some delegations on Thursday asked for more time to consult their capitals.

The delay was blamed on English-speaking Caribbean countries, which were miffed that they had not been consulted although they have no problem with Panama's candidacy.