Nigeria to press for reform of Security Council, its President says
The President of Nigeria today called for an expansion of the Security Council to include representation for Africa, and pledged his country’s efforts toward achieving this end.
“The situation whereby Africa is itself totally excluded from the permanent membership of the Council is unfair and untenable and must be rectified,” Umaru Musa Yar’adua told the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate.
He pledged to “continue to collaborate with Member States to press for a comprehensive reform of the United Nations system, including the much-desired expansion of the Security Council in both the permanent and non-permanent categories in order to reflect the realities of today’s world.”
Speaking more broadly about the needs of the African continent, he said it seeks “genuine partnership for economic development” from the international community.
“This should be manifested in a global economic system predicated on fairness, justice and equity; one that ensures fair trade terms and recognizes the centrality of mutuality in prosperity,” he said. “More specifically, Africa requires massive, focused foreign investment in the infrastructural development across the continent.”
Festus G. Mogae, the President of Botswana, echoed the call for attention to Africa, acknowledging its problems while emphasizing that the continent’s future “is not hopeless or bleak.”
He emphasized the pivotal role being played by the African Union (AU) in the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts. “While the United Nations Security Council has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, Africa should be a dependable and indispensable partner in responding expeditiously to the urgent need to end conflicts and save lives.”
The President added that the countries and peoples of Africa must take a lead role in promoting peace and development. “We should adopt sound policies and programmes that promote economic growth and development, foreign direct investment, as well as domestic investment,” he said.
At the same time, he called for the continent’s development partners to “deliver on the pledges to scale up official development assistance (ODA) to Africa, effect meaningful debt relief, improve market access for African goods and services and encourage their private sectors to invest in Africa.”
Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdellahi, the President of Mauritania, said there was no doubt that “economic and social development constitute the best antidote” to the problems plaguing Africa.
He called for greater levels of official assistance and foreign direct investment for Africa, while pointing out that the continent’s countries hold primary responsibility for development. “They must ensure the primacy of law, promote good governance and create a framework that will foster investments,” he said.
Mauritania is closely following developments concerning Western Sahara and welcomes recent steps which have translated into a return to the negotiating table, he said, voicing supports for efforts by the Secretary-General to achieve a lasting solution acceptable to all parties that would bolster stability in the region.