The General Assembly was unable this afternoon to elect either the Russian Federation or North Macedonia to sit on the United Nations Economic and Social Council, despite running through five rounds of voting. As neither of the two States obtained the two-thirds majority required to be elected, the General Assembly postponed the continuation of the process to a later date, while also adopting a resolution on strengthening connectivity between Central Asia and South Asia.
The election was intended to complete the process that began on 10 June and resumed on 16 June to elect the full slate of countries required to sit on the Council, during which 17 other members of the organ were elected. After six rounds of voting on 10 June, and a further five rounds on 16 June, the five subsequent rounds held today could not determine which of the two candidate countries, representing the Group of Eastern European States, will serve on that organ for a three-year term beginning 1 January 2023.
In the first round, the Russian Federation received 94 votes to North Macedonia’s 72, with the tally at 99 to 74 in the second round. The Russian Federation counted 99 votes to North Macedonia’s 73 in the third round, and 99 to 74 in the fourth round. In the fifth and final round, the Russian Federation received 101 votes to North Macedonia’s 73 — meaning neither candidate reached the two-thirds majority, which fluctuates between 111 and 116 votes depending on the number of Member States present and voting. A future round of voting will be organized on a date yet to be determined, according to the Vice-President of the General Assembly.
Before that voting, the Assembly adopted without a vote the resolution titled “Strengthening connectivity between Central Asia and South Asia” (document A/76/L.68). Introduced by the representative of Uzbekistan, the Assembly recognized the importance of cooperation in establishing safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport networks supported by inclusive and sustainable industrialization and information technologies with a view to achieving transport connectivity across Central and South Asia that is economically, socially and environmentally viable, financially sustainable and is resilient to unexpected emergencies.
Also by the text, it emphasized the importance of effective border management in promoting connectivity among the countries and the role of international cooperation, and further encouraged the continuation and advancement of cooperation between Central and South Asia by expanding transport and information and communications technology infrastructure and creating new international transport corridors that open convenient, sustainable, commercially viable, affordable, accessible, inclusive and safe routes to seaports.
Further to its terms, the Assembly recognized the importance of Afghanistan’s potential role in connecting Central and South Asia, as well as its economic development and integration into interregional economic processes for lasting peace and stability.
The representative of the Czech Republic, speaking on behalf of the European Union in explanation of position, welcomed the adoption, but went on to express concern about the deterioration of the humanitarian, economic, security and political situation in Afghanistan since the takeover of power by the Taliban. He stressed that the country will not achieve long-term stability and economic reconstruction unless political and security requirements are met.
Pakistan’s delegate stated that the resolution can help ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan. The Russian Federation’s representative stressed that a peaceful, developed Afghanistan free from terrorism and drugs is in the interests of all States in the region. He noted that collective efforts towards national reconciliation in the country, alongside its socioeconomic reconstruction, would help to optimize interaction between Central Asia and South Asia.
China’s delegate noted that connectivity offers access to the sea for both regions. The representative of Turkmenistan underlined that South Asia and Central Asia represent a new strategic space, hence the importance of strengthening the regional transport connectivity.
India’s delegate stressed that connectivity should not be a source of debt and should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Member States, as well as international ecological and economic standards. The representative of Iran denounced the politicization of connectivity, as well as the negative impacts of unilateral coercive measures.
The Assembly also adopted without a vote a decision titled “the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity” (document A/76/L.69).
The General Assembly will meet again on Tuesday, 12 July, at 10 a.m. to continue its work.