2004 was the last time Spain was seated at the UN Security Council.
The Diplomat. Madrid.
The Spanish President begins today in Malabo (Equatorial Guinea) an intense international week, the novelty of which consists in the fact that he is going to become involved for the first time in the garnering of votes for Spain’s candidacy for the post on the UN’s Security Council for the period 2015-2016 as a non-permanent member. This diplomatic task has been the purview of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel García-Margallo and his three secretaries of State.
Rajoy’s invitation comes from the African Union (AU), who have asked him to participate in the inaugural session of the summit which this time is being organized by Equatorial Guinea. Although it is not an official visit, it is the first trip of a Spanish President to the former colony since Felipe González’s in 1991. Rajoy will be meeting with the Guinean president, Teodoro Obiang, at the periphery of the summit. He also plans to meet the current AU president, the Mauritanian Mohamed Uld Abdelaziz, who has just been re-elected in his country. In addition, he will meet the president of the Commission of the AU, Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma, ex-wife of the South African Head of State.
Rajoy’s intervention in the opening session is noteworthy because it is the only one by a European dignitary before the plenary of the AU, and because he will be speaking straight after the UN’s Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.
After attending the European Summit in Ypres (Belgium) on Friday, and resting over the weekend, the President will head off to Panama in order to represent Spain, on 1 July, at the inauguration of Juan Carlos Varela, the new Panamanian President.
For the last 18 years this role had been carried out by the Prince of Asturias and it is yet to be seen if Philip VI will continue with this practice in the future, but Rajoy wants to be in Panama due to contentions in the Canal in which the constructor Sacyr has been involved.
At the same time, the President has been invited on 2 July, to the summit which the Caribbean Community (Caricom) will be celebrating in Antigua and Barbuda, although the Moncloa has not yet confirmed his attendance. As with the African Union summit, Rajoy will ask for a vote for Spain’s Candidacy to the Security Council from the 15 members, and five observers, that make up this regional organization.
As at the African Union summit, Rajoy will ask for a vote for Spain’s Candidacy to Caricom’s members
Spain is competing with Turkey and New Zealand for the two empty spots in the western country block. The General Assembly of the UN, where there are no vetoes and where each country, no matter how small, represents one vote, will elect the two new members in October, by secret ballot. The Spanish Government has stated it has secured about one hundred votes of the 129 it needs and it thinks that it needs to intensify its diplomatic campaign in sub-Saharan Africa, the Anglophone Caribbean and Polynesia.
On the other hand, the PSOE’s Secretary for the European Union, Juan Moscoso del Prado, offered on behalf of the PSOE “any action that can be carried out” to support the Government in this diplomatic campaign.
Margallo organised a working lunch on Tuesday, with the Ministers of Foreign Relations of the democracy and the spokespeople of the political groups in Congress, at which both the PP and the PSOE recognised that this is a joint effort since it is a State matter.
Moscoso will represent the PSOE at the Socialist International Council which will take place in Mexico City and he will include the topic in the meetings he holds with the representatives that attend the meeting, such as the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto. He will also campaign at the Progressive Alliance’s Conference which will take place in Montevideo on 22 July, where he is planning to meet with the Uruguayan President, José Mujica, and the Frente Amplio’s candidate, Tabaré Vázquez.