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Dominican Republic fails to win seat at UN Security Council

[From BBC Caribbean]Costa Rica has been elected to fill a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Its opponent, the Dominican Republic, bowed out following two rounds of voting in which they'd trailed behind.Costa Rica received 116 votes and the Dominican Republic 72 votes in the first round.In the second round, the vote was 119 for Costa Rica and 70 for the Dominican Republic.

BBC Caribbean's correspondent in Santo Domingo Jean Michel Caroit says the China factor could have swung the vote in Costa Rica's favour. "The Dominican Republic has diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and Costa Rica broke away from Taiwan a few months ago and established diplomatic relations with mainland China," he said. "And obviously many people were saying here in the Dominican Republic that it would be a major factor in the election."

Relief over decision

Costa Rica has sat on the council twice before, while the Dominican Republic never has. Dominican officials said Foreign Minister Carlos Morales Troncoso held more than 45 bilateral meetings with other UN delegations to seek support but Costa Rica also waged a vigorous campaign.

The early withdrawal of the Dominican Republic drew applause from the UN assembly mixed with relief that there would be no repeat of last year's epic between Venezuela and Guatemala. They then both failed to get the two thirds majority necessary to be elected to the second regional seat in the security council. After three weeks, both withdrew and Panama was elected as a compromise candidate. Costa Rica will now serve on the security council for the years 2008 to 2009.

Also elected on Tuesday were Libya, Vietnam and Burkina Faso and Croatia.

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