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United Nations Security Council

The Security Council

In Brief...

  • 15 members: five permanent members with veto power and ten non-permanent members, elected by the General Assembly for a two-year term.
  • Meetings are called at any given time when the need arises.
  • Rotating presidency: Members take turn at holding the presidency of the Security Council for one month.

Under the Charter, the Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It has 15 Members, and each Member has one vote. Under the Charter, all Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions.

The Security Council takes the lead in determining the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression. It calls upon the parties to a dispute to settle it by peaceful means and recommends methods of adjustment or terms of settlement. In some cases, the Security Council can resort to imposing sanctions or even authorize the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security.

The Security Council also recommends to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General and the admission of new Members to the United Nations. And, together with the General Assembly, it elects the judges of the International Court of Justice.

Latest News

In talks with arriving world leaders, UN chief spotlights climate change, Ebola, regional cooperation

21 September 2014 Ahead of this week's opening of the United Nations General Assembly's annual high-level session Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed a host of top Government officials throughout the day, continuing the tradition of meeting arriving world leaders for one-on-one talks spotlighting key international issues.

Afghanistan: UN welcomes conclusion of presidential elections, deal to form unity government

21 September 2014 United Nations Secretary-General and his most senior envoy in Afghanistan welcomed the agreement signed today by presidential candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, to establish a government of national unity, ending months of political uncertainty in the country.

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