EX-SOVIET STATES SUPPORT RP'S UNSC BID

Manila, Jan. 20, 2003 - Former Soviet states have pledged support to the Philippines' bid for a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), further boosting the country's campaign to clinch a post in the international organization. Philippine Ambassador to Moscow Jaime Bautista recently visited Commonwealth Independent States Ukraine, Kazakshtan, the Kyrhyz Republic, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan in Central Asia, Armenia, and Georgia in Caucasus to campaign support for the Philippines.

Ukraine and Kazakhstan immediately gave their support to the Philippines, Bautista said. The foreign ministers of other countries received the request positively, promising to give their utmost consideration on the basis of their friendly relations with the Philippines, he added.

The Philippines has been assured of a non-permanent seat to the UNSC for the 2004-2005 term after the Asian caucus in the UN General Assembly has endorsed the country's bid for one of the five non-permanent rotating seats in the UNSC.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Blas Ople said in the absence of any other announced candidacy from Asia, the Asian consensus means the Philippines may have clinched the prestigious UNSC seat.

The Philippines will be occupying the seat to be vacated by Syria in December 2003. According to Ople, the unanimous decision of the Asian group for the Philippines to be a member of the UNSC "reflects the confidence that Asia has in the ability of the Philippines to face national and international challenges."

"We can now represent the voice of Asia. We will have the clout to advance the interests of Asian countries. This will mean that we will cease to be a powerless spectator," the DFA chief pointed out.

Ople added capturing a non-permanent seat in the 15-nation UNSC validates the "rising political stature of the Philippines in the international community" under the leadership of President Arroyo. (Tribune)


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