NEW YORK, May 11 – Diplomats at Malaysia’s permanent mission to the United Nations in New York are working hard to get the coveted non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in 2015. Malaysia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Datuk Hussein Haniff, described 2014 as a “very crucial year” when the decision will be taken on Malaysia’s bid to get the UNSC seat for 2015 and 2016. “Before the current year started, we already had the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) endorsement.

Later, in January, we obtained the endorsement of the important Asia Pacific group at the United Nations, bringing us a step closer to our goal of getting elected for a UNSC non-permanent seat. “Now we need to get the endorsement of the remaining groups,” Hussein said in an interview with Bernama in his office here. A major push will be provided by Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, who is visiting New York from May 18 to drum up support for Malaysia’s UNSC candidature.

“Malaysia’s candidature has been made easier with the Asia-Pacific group’s endorsement early this year and Malaysia is so far the sole candidate from Asia contesting for a non-permanent UNSC seat,” he said, adding that the foreign minister’s forthcoming visit to New York would be a strong asset for the country. Malaysia has already held a UNSC non-permanent seat three times before, when it was elected for the first time in 1965 followed, for the second time, in 1989/1990. Malaysia last occupied a UNSC seat in 1999/2000.

Besides the Asia-Pacific group, other UN regional groups include the African group, Eastern Europe group, Latin America and Caribbean States (GRULAC), the Western European and Others Group (WEOG). The Malaysian foreign minister’s packed schedule will include meetings with all the five regional groups besides attending a panel discussion on current peace-keeping operations. Like other participating countries, Malaysia will now participate in what is called the “robust” peace-keeping operations.

Malaysia has, traditionally, been a major contributor in terms of personnel for peace-keeping operations under the UN aegis. “Malaysia’s biggest battalion is currently in Lebanon while there are at present nearly 1,200 peace-keeping troops from Malaysia stationed around the world,” Hussein added.

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