South Asia

Pakistan wins UN Security Council seat alongside India

Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar (right) and Pakistan's Ambassador to the UN, Abdullah Hussain Haroon, at the UN on 19 September 2011
Image caption Pakistan may resist Western attempts to sanction Syria and Iran

Pakistan has won a seat alongside its regional rival India on the UN Security Council.

It was contesting elections for five positions with two-year terms.

Morocco, Guatemala and Togo have also been elected as new temporary members of the council. The Eastern European seat is still being contested.

Pakistan's win means both South Asian nuclear states will serve, but diplomats do not think regional rivalry will play out in a big way there.

The positions of Pakistan and India are similar on many international issues.

The elections replace five of the 10 temporary members of the council every year.

Usually regional groupings endorse the seats in advance, but this year there was an unusually high number of contestants, making the outcome unpredictable.

Guatemala ran unopposed and Morocco won easily, but Togo's victory took three rounds and the fifth seat is still contested.

Pakistan's ambassador, Abdullah Hussain Haroon, said he expected to work well with his Indian counterpart - he received a congratulatory call from the Indian envoy while talking to journalists.

Diplomats say the greater impact may be on wider council dynamics - they suspect Pakistan may join emerging powers in resisting Western attempts to sanction countries such as Syria and Iran.

If so, it would continue positions held by Brazil, whose term is ending.

Togo's victory ensures a black African presence on the council, something that was in doubt because its run-off was against the Arab state of Mauritania.