Syria backs Venezuela for security council seat

Syria is backing Venezuela's efforts to win a contested seat on the UN Security Council, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mekdad said Monday. "We are going to collaborate so Venezuela obtains that seat," Mekdad said in a statement following a closed-door meeting with Venezuelan Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel. Venezuela is competing with Guatemala for a regional seat on the Security Council, which is charged with maintaining international peace and security. Argentina and Brazil have expressed support for Venezuela, while Central American nations are expected to support their neighbor Guatemala. The seat will become available in January. If the region cannot agree on a consensus candidate, the UN General Assembly will take up the issue.