NAIROBI, Kenya – The Seychelles has just 90,000 people, but that's not holding the island nation back from seeking a seat on the U.N. Security Council.
Seychelles President James Michel announced Friday that his country wants a non-permanent seat on the council for the 2017-18 term. Michel said Seychelles has shown it is ready for a seat through its role in fighting Somali piracy and its recent mediation efforts to help resolve a Madagascar political crisis. Seychelles is a luxury island destination off East Africa.
"We have values that we can share with and impart to the rest of the world. These values are solidly anchored in our abiding faith in the inherent goodness of humanity," Michel said.
The Security Council has five permanent members: the U.S., China, Russia, France and the U.K. It also has 10 non-permanent members who join for two-year periods. Other small island nations have sat on the council, though none as sparsely populated as Seychelles.
Malta, in southern Europe, appears to be the least populous country to ever sit on the Security Council, in 1983-84. Malta has 410,000 people, more than four times as many as Seychelles. Cape Verde, an archipelago off West Africa with 523,000 people, was on the Security Council in 1992-93. Djibouti, a Horn of Africa nation of 775,000 people, was there in 1993-94.
Srdjana Janosevic, the president's spokeswoman, acknowledged that Seychelles has an uphill climb to gain one of the coveted rotating seats, saying: "I imagine it won't be easy."
"But the issue of size has never prevented Seychelles from aiming high in the world of diplomacy and achieving recognition as a leader in the fight against piracy, climate change advocacy as well as promoting regional peace and security," she said.