Slovenia elected member of UN Security Council
Slovenia has been elected a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for 2024-2025, securing the requisite two-thirds majority among UN member states in the first round of voting on 6 June to beat Belarus in the Eastern European group.
The vote capped more than a year of campaigning over two successive governments as part of which Slovenian officials held talks with representatives of almost 190 countries.
Slovenia will be a member from 1 January 2024 until the end of 2025 and is expected to preside over the Security Council in September 2024, in time for the regular session of the UN General Assembly.
"Today is a great day for Slovenia," Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon said. Prime Minister Robert Golob described the vote as "one of Slovenia's greatest successes in international diplomacy".
The country launched its bid under the Janez Janša government in late 2021 at urging of western allies after Russia attacked Ukraine, and Belarus, at the time the only candidate from the Eastern European group, forged even closer ties with Russia.
Slovenia had been reserved about predicting the outcome of the vote with officials repeatedly saying they were moderately optimistic. Several analysts had warned it was uncertain how African and Asian countries would vote.
This is why the campaign eschewed Ukraine as a talking point, focusing instead on Slovenia's long-standing foreign policy priorities such as climate change, gender equality, and aid to developing countries.
President Nataša Pirc Musar, who played an active role in the final months of the campaign, said Slovenia had "convinced the countries with a principled policy, clear positions and the right priorities - respect for international law, commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes, gender equality, protection of vulnerable groups, and protection of the environment and climate."
In the end, Slovenia got 153 votes and Belarus only 38.
Slovenian officials said the hard work was only just beginning now that the election was over.
Golob said that as a "small but confident member of the Security Council, Slovenia can contribute significantly in areas where the big players sometimes fall silent. We will act as a bridge between competing interests."
The prime minister is confident Slovenia will be able to influence global policies since it is adept at lending an ear to smaller countries and will consistently work for the preservation of international peace and stability.
He highlighted climate change as a key issue. "We'll work hard to make sure this item remains on the UN's principal agenda. Climate change is the greatest threat to our future, our security and peace in the world."
Slovenia was a member of the UN Security Council once before, in 1998-1999, when it was elected in the first round despite having a competitor in North Macedonia. In 2011, Slovenia made another attempt but was defeated by Azerbaijan.