The news that Israel was no longer in the running came from the Reuters press agency and has since been confirmed by the Israelis.
"After consultations with our partners, among who our good friends, the state of Israel has decided to postpone its candidature for a seat on the Security Council”, the Israeli government said in a statement.
This leaves the way open for Belgium to serve a two-year term as a non-permanent member of the Security Council. There were three candidates (Germany, Israel and Belgium) for two seats on the Security Council.
Vote on 8 June
A vote will be held on 8 June to decide which countries will be non-permanent members of the Security Council during 2019 and 2020. The vote will be a secret ballot held during a meeting of the UN General Assembly. However, with just two candidates for two seats the vote will be little more than a formality.
Speaking on VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De Ochtend’ the Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said that “I take note of Israel’s decision. However, we must continue with our campaign. We need a two thirds majority to be elected and we will continue to campaign during the coming weeks to convince as many countries as possible to vote for us”.
Mr Reynders added that Israel’s decision to withdraw its candidature “Is confirmation that our campaign has run well. Our campaign enjoys wide support”.
The UN Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is made up of 5 permanent members: France, the United Kingdom, Russia, China and the United States. There are also 10 non-permanent members that sit on the Security Council for a period of 2 years. Unlike the permanent members, the non-permanent members don’t have the right of veto.