UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has issued a statement declaring that Iceland is eligible for joining the UN Security Council. The statement came in response to criticism from Icelandic authorities regarding his comments in Austrian magazine Profil where he was reported to have said that he hoped Austria would be elected.
Austria, Iceland and Turkey are competing for two available seats on the Security Council and elections are scheduled for October.
According to Fréttabladid, the statement from Ban says that all three states are eligible for a seat on the Security Council and that he wishes them all good luck in the upcoming elections. As the UN Secretary General, he does not favor one state over another.
Director of Iceland’s Foreign Ministry Grétar Már Sigurdsson said representatives of many countries had been surprised by Ban’s comments to Profil, where he was quoted as saying: “Personally I hope Austria will be elected.”
Both Iceland and Turkey requested an explanation from the UN Secretary General and, according to Sigurdsson, other states had also made remarks in reaction to the interview in Profil. “It is not just Iceland’s private business when an employee of the United Nations comments in such a way,” Sigurdsson said.
Sigurdsson said that the incident had been an unfortunate one but that he does not believe that it will damage Iceland’s campaign for a seat on the Security Council. He added that he hoped the incident could now be forgotten as the Secretary General had clarified his position.
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