As from 1 January 2007 Italy will be one of the new, non-permanent members of the United Nations security council.

Each year five non-permanent members are selected to form part of the UN Security Council. Italy was elected by the UN general assembly by 186 votes out of 192. Two of the others who will form part of the council until 31 December 2008 are Belgium and South Africa. The three countries replace Denmark, Greece and Tanzania.

The other two non-permanent seats are being contested between Nepal and Indonesia vying to replace Japan in the Asian group, and Guatemala and Venezuela with their eyes on the seat vacated by Argentina in the Latin American group.

This is the sixth time that Italy has been elected, a record for a European country.

The five permanent seats on the security council are filled by US, Great Britain, France, China and Russia.

Other changes at the UN include South Koreas foreign minister, Ban Ki Moon, who replaces Kofi Annans as UN secretary general.