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Photo: International Maritime Organization

Russia Fails to Get Re-Elected to IMO Council

Reuters
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December 1, 2023
Reuters

By Jonathan Saul

LONDON, Dec 1 (Reuters) – Russia on Friday failed to win enough votes for re-election to the United Nation’s shipping agency’s governing council after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had urged countries not to allow Moscow to be part of the UN body’s executive arm.

The outcome is another blow for Russia after it failed in its bid to return to the UN’s top human rights body in October, in an election seen as a key test of Western efforts to keep Moscow isolated.

Last year Moscow also failed to win enough votes for re-election to the UN aviation agency’s governing council.

The London-based International Maritime Organization (IMO) is responsible for regulating the safety and security of international shipping and preventing pollution and comprises 175 member state countries. Russia has been a member since 1958 and has been consistently re-elected to the IMO Council.

With voting underway on Friday, 40 countries were elected by secret ballot to the IMO Council, which supervises the work of the body. They include China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Norway, Panama, South Korea, Britain and the United States.

Ukraine, which was not standing for election, had pushed for Russia to be ousted from the IMO Council.

“Russia has no place in the International Maritime Organization nor in its governing bodies, because no one in recent decades has caused greater harm to free navigation than Russia,” Zelenskiy told the IMO Assembly in a remote address on Monday.

Russia’s IMO delegation told the Assembly earlier on Friday that it deserved its place on the Council.

“A balancing and constructive role is what our country contributes, not just to this body, but to the Organization as a whole,” Russia’s delegation said in translated comments.

In October, Russia said the IMO was departing from its impartial role due to “external pressure” which it said was impacting the fair treatment of all member countries.

(Reporting by Jonathan Saul;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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