Libya’s new rulers may be basking in international goodwill after Muammar Gaddafi’s overthrow but that support failed to win them a coveted UN atomic agency board seat when most delegates backed neighbouring Egypt instead.
In a rare display of regional disunity on nominating members for the 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the African group failed to agree on which two countries should represent them over the next two years.
Egypt and Libya, which have both seen the overthrow of strongmen this year, both sought one of the two African seats, alongside Tanzania, Reuters rpeorts.
The issue had to be settled by a vote in the full plenary of the annual gathering of the IAEA’s 151 member states, which Egypt went on to win by 87 ballots against 28 for Libya.
Libyan Ambassador Ahmed Menesi expressed disappointment, saying Tripoli’s candidacy had been confirmed by the African Union back in January, when Gaddafi was still in power.
“We wished that Libya, new Libya, would have a seat in the board of governors,” he told Reuters.
The IAEA board of governors is the Vienna-based agency’s main decision-making body, grouping heavyweights such as the United States, China, and Russia, as well as rotating members from the various regions such as Europe, Africa and Asia.
It meets regularly and has the power to report countries to the U.N. Security Council for not complying with its nuclear safeguards obligations, which it did in the case of Syria in June and Iran in 2006.