Socio-economic strength and trade links follow
Bhutan can keep aside its United Nations Security Council (UNSC) dreams for now as the tough numbers game shows that Bhutan will not have enough votes to get a seat at the UNSC.
The country’s expanse in terms of diplomatic relations and their offices was one of the main reasons cited by Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley due to which Bhutan fell short of miles to cinch the desired votes.
On arrival from attending the 67th session of the UN general assembly in New York City, Lyonchhen in his briefing at the Paro airport delivered a report of the transpirations at the general assembly which included the ‘up-to and now’ progress on Bhutan’s possible UNSC candidature.
Lyonchhen said “It will be difficult to gain a seat on the UNSC through elections”.
He said a key and cornerstone reason toward it is Bhutan’s number of diplomatic relations with other countries.
Bhutan presented its candidature to the UN in 1999 when no other countries had expressed interest but of late two countries had shown interest. They are South Korea and Cambodia.
South Korea and Cambodia are nations which have diplomatic relations with almost every country. And an added benefit for South Korea lies in its most conspicuously granted assistance to many nations which totals to a tune of almost US$ 5bn.
Cambodia meanwhile is a nation strategically favored given its nature of governance.
In comparison to the level of socio-economic development, trade and commerce and defense strengths, Bhutan only had a far off chance, said Lyonchhen since the nations vie for the seat with all these factors in perspective.
In the case of South Korea, said Lyonchhen, “we had repeatedly requested them to withdraw their move for candidature. We told them that they had previously been a member in the Security Council that they have been a UN member for only 20 years whereas Bhutan is now in its 43rd year as a member”.
However, S Korea expressed the immense benefits they would have if they are member of the UNSC. How it will help the security of its nation etc. “So they didn’t want to back away from scoring seat in the SC,” said Lyonchhen.
This is however not the ‘be all end all’ of matters for Bhutan.
“Bhutan will not withdraw from the process,” clearly stated the Lyonchhen. This decision arises from rigorous consultative discussions with supportive voices and the cabinet.
The Lyonchhen was of the view that all this would allow Bhutan to tell the UN it did not stick with the principles of democracy. And in that he said Bhutan promoted itself on the basis of sovereign equality, principles of democracy, and rotation basis.
Bhutan’s silver lining in this crusade for the non-permanent UNSC seat, is the many relations it built along the way with many countries. Lyonchhen said “Bhutan is now well-known and respected by UN members, and its independence, sovereignty, and security has only been further strengthened”.
Currently, Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk who is the acting foreign minister remains in New York to continue Bhutan’s most concerted efforts to convince more countries and garner their support.
Lyonchhen in his briefing said that the establishment of diplomatic relations with 15 more countries is expected.
UN security council elections are scheduled for October 18.
Sonam Pelvar / Thimphu