UN-Day: Looking back at Nepal’s Non-Permanent Member Security Council seat in 1988/89

Birat Anupam

October 24, 2021


UN-Day: Looking back at Nepal’s Non-Permanent Member Security Council seat in 1988/89

United Nations Headquarters in New York. File Photo: UN

KATHMANDU: Today is UN Day. On this very day some 76 years ago on 24 October 1945, 51 founding members officially constituted the United Nations. The member list has reached 193.

Nepal earned its membership on 14 December 1955. Having been an integral part of UN system for 66 years, Nepal vied for Non-Permanent UN Security Council members for three times.

It was successful on two occasions. For the first time, Nepal secured its Non-Permanent UN Security Council Membership in 1969/70. This first attempt gave huge electoral victory for Nepal.

Nepal garnered top-most 120 votes. Likewise, in 1988/89 bid, Nepal stood third among ten Non-Permanent UN Security Council Membership voting by securing 144 votes.

The voting was held on 15 October 1987. Unfortunately, in 2006, Nepal just only 28 votes against its Asian competitor Indonesia’s 158 votes.

This result of 17 October 2016 was poorest showing of Nepal in its Non-Permanent UN Security Membership bid. In this regard, Nepal’s latest victory of Non-Permanent UN Security Council membership vote of 1988/89 is worth commemorating.

The story behind Nepal’s membership victory of 1988/89 Mana Ranjan Josse, who is widely known as MR Josse, was Nepal’s Deputy Permanent Representatives to the United Nations from 1985 to 1990.

He also served as Nepal’s Alternative Representative to the UN Security Council for 1988-1989.

Having stood as second topper at Jadavpur University of Kolkotta in his master’s degree in international relations in 1963, MR Josse is also a former Editor-in-Chief of the Rising Nepal. In his book titled ‘Nepal’s Quest for Survival in a Challenging Geopolitical Setting’, MR Josse has talked about the Non-Permanent UN Security Council Membership victory of 1988/89.

As an insider diplomat and with the journalistic background, MR Josse has detailed the story behind Nepal victory mainly in 15 points as follows: 1. Initially, Nepal was willing to contest for 1987/88.

This proposition was made just after the arrival of Nepal Permanent Representative to the UN Jai Pratap Rana.

Some circulars were made among UN members for Nepal’s bid for 1978/88 election to the Non-Permanent UN Security Council Membership bid.

However, an instruction came from Kathmandu to support Japan for the year and postpone Nepal’s application for 1988/89.

Nepal stood in support of Japan. Japan was thankful for Nepal’s move. The then UN ambassador Kiyoaki Kikuchi thanked Nepal.

  1. Bangladesh also showed good gesture for Nepal’s bid for 1988/89 by postponing its membership bid for 1989/90.

Ambassador of Bangladesh Abdul Hasan had announced this move in favor of Nepal. In 1969/70, Bangladesh was lost to Nepal for the seat.

That helped create partnership between the countries for the second bid. This was a result of tripartite deal made by Kathmandu between Nepal, Japan and Bangladesh.

  1. Nepal proposed to endorse Nepal’s candidacy at Asian Group meeting of 27 January 1987.

Chair of the Asian Group and the ambassador of Malaysia Mohamd Yisuf bin Hitam played supportive role and Nepal’s proposal was endorsed.

Fiji, however, did not support Nepal upon instructions from its capital city. It declared so on 8 February 1987.

  1. Another Asian Group Meeting chaired by Sri Lankan Ambassador Nissanka Wijewardane on 13 August 1987, Nepal got additional support.

Nepal’s Ambassador Rana convinced Fiji to withdraw. He thanks Fiji for the support.

He dealt diplomatically with the Fijian Ambassador Winston Thompson at a time when Fiji had undergone military coup d’état.

Raju Singh, the Deputy Ambassador of the Fiji, expressed Fiji’s bid to contest against Bangladesh in 1989/90 seat.

  1. On 18 August, Nepal sent a note to Ambassador Wijewardane for his support to have unanimous endorsement of Nepal’s candidacy.
  2. On 24 August, Nepal got assurance of support from New Zealand. Previously, it was widely believed that Australia and New Zealand would have already endorsed Fiji’s candidacy against Nepal which Nepal believed would be a tough one as Fuji was first-time contender with strong possible support from the West.
  3. After New Zealand’s support, Australia also expressed its support to Nepal on a note dated 1 September.
  4. On 2 September, Nepal got formal support from Algeria. Algeria also urged Nepal to vote it.
  5. On 4 September, Yugoslavia wrote it had ‘decided to support Nepal.. bearing in mind the close and friendly relations between the two countries.
  6. On 8 October, Romania also expressed its support. 11. On 11 September, Cuba made formal support to Nepal.
  7. On 17 September, Ireland wrote its support to Nepal.
  8. On 21 September, Brazil expressed support to Nepal and expected the same from Nepal.
  9. Notes were received from Canada and Venezuela in support of Nepal.

15. Election Day was on 15 October. Nepal stood third securing 144 votes. Highest vote was obtained by Brazil (151) followed by Yugoslavia (146). Nepal was ahead of fourth-placed Senegal (132).