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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 October 2006, 00:47 GMT 01:47 UK
Venezuela 'fights on' for UN seat
The UN Security Council. File photo
A seat on the council gives some influence over key decisions
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he will continue to fight for a UN Security Council seat despite deadlock with Latin America rival Guatemala.

Voting has ended for a second day at the United Nations. After 22 rounds, Guatemala continues to lead but is still short of a two-thirds majority.

Washington has been lobbying hard for Guatemala, describing Venezuela as too confrontational to merit a seat.

The deadlock has led to calls for a compromise Latin America candidate.

'Blackmail'

In the final round for Tuesday, Guatemala won 102 votes to Venezuela's 77, similar to many previous rounds but still short of decisive. A winner needs 124 votes.

We have made our position in a very low-key way
John Bolton,
US Ambassador to UN

Voting resumes on Thursday, allowing for negotiations on a possible Latin America compromise nation.

But President Chavez said: "Venezuela doesn't give up. I say it here to the whole world, Venezuela will continue waging this battle."

He accused the US of "blackmail, pressure, threats of all sorts".

US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, denied pressuring anyone.

"We have made our position in a very low-key way. It's motivated by our concern for Venezuela's behaviour," he said.

A 1979 battle between Cuba and Colombia took three months of voting to resolve, with Mexico eventually winning as the compromise candidate.

This time, Costa Rica, Panama and Uruguay could emerge in a compromise.

With Iran, Darfur and North Korea on the agenda of the council in the coming months, a position on the Security Council gives some influence over key decisions.

Five of the UN Security Council seats are held permanently by China, the US, Russia, the UK and France.

The others are held by regional blocs from Africa, Latin America, Asia, Western Europe and Eastern Europe.

Other regional seats, which are rotated every two years, went to Indonesia, South Africa, Italy and Belgium in the first round of voting.



SEE ALSO
UN steps into US-Venezuela spat
25 Sep 06 |  Americas
Profile: The UN Security Council
03 Jan 06 |  Country profiles
Chavez tells UN Bush is 'devil'
20 Sep 06 |  Americas

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