Austria to help Israel join UN Security Council

Austria has pledged to help Israel become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

By: Eldad Beck, Israel Hayom/Exclusive to and World Israel News Staff

Austria has pledged to help Israel become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), that country’s chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, announced on Twitter Saturday.

Kurz made the announcement following a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.

Kurz tweeted a picture in which he and Netanyahu are seen shaking hands at the conference and wrote, “Excellent meeting with Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu during MunSecConf. We want to continue to strengthen our bilateral relations and our multilateral cooperation.”

“We agreed to support Israel if it should decide to be a candidate for the UNSC. We will also continue our determined fight against anti-Semitism!” he added.

He also retweeted a statement from Austrian spokesman Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, who wrote, “Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz also met Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for bilateral talks at #MSC2018. Both have reaffirmed their commitment to further develop bilateral relations and multilateral cooperation.”

In a statement following their meeting, Netanyahu said that “Kurz promised me that Austria would change the voting pattern at the UN when it comes to Israel and would support the candidacy of Israel for nonpermanent membership in the UN Security Council.”

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The meeting, which Netanyahu noted was held at Kurz’s request, was the first between the two leaders since Kurz’s conservative Austrian People’s Party formed a right-wing government with the far-right Freedom Party of Austria.

In the meantime, the Arab league is working to block Israel’s bid for a UNSC seat in the 2019-2020 term.

Israel, which is a member of the UNSC’s Western European and Others Group, is the only Middle East country that has never obtained a non-permanent seat on the UN body. Israel has been working to garner enough support to defeat either Germany or Belgium in a three-way race for two spots on the Security Council. The vote will take place in June.

In April 2017, Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon wrote in a Politico op-ed, “Now, more than ever, it is time for Israel to take its place as a leader in the world’s premier international organization. Our country is qualified, well equipped and well prepared for this important role.”