Germany certain to win UN council seat, but contest in Asia

Germany and Belgium are certain to win seats on the U.N. Security Council after Israel dropped out of the race last month, but there will be one closely watched contest between Indonesia and the Maldives when the General Assembly votes Friday.

The Security Council has five permanent members — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — and 10 members elected by the 193-member General Assembly for two-year terms. Five countries are elected every year by secret ballot.

Winning a seat on the Security Council is a pinnacle of achievement for many countries because it gives them a voice in matters dealing with international peace and security ranging from conflicts in Syria, Yemen and South Sudan to the nuclear threat posed by North Korea and attacks by extremist groups.