Security Council should have permanent African member, South Africa says

29 September 2008

The lack of a permanent African member on the Security Council, even though the continent represents a large amount of the 15-member panel’s work, “remains a travesty of justice,” South Africa’s Foreign Minister told the General Assembly today.

In an address to the final day of the annual General Debate at the Assembly, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said the Council’s membership needs to be broadened as part of a programme of “fundamental reform” of the United Nations, the so-called Bretton Woods financial institutions and other global organizations.

Ms. Dlamini Zuma said the most critical issues facing the world today – such as the current financial, food and energy crises – cannot be resolved when “so many other countries and regions of the world are left out of the key decision-making processes of important institutions of global governance.”

A reformed Security Council would have much more legitimacy and credibility, she said, welcoming the General Assembly’s adoption of a decision earlier this month to soon begin intergovernmental negotiations on Council reform.

Those negotiations will discuss plans and options for expanding both the permanent and non-permanent membership of the Council.

“It remains a travesty of justice that Africa, which constitutes a large portion of the work of the Council, is not represented in the permanent category,” the Foreign Minister noted. “Unless the ideals of freedom, justice and equality become the character of the UN – the dominant will continue to dictate to the dominated while the dream of the dominated will forever be deferred.”

South Africa’s current stint as a non-permanent Council member expires at the end of December.

Addressing the General Assembly this evening, Mauritian Permanent Representative Somduth Soborun backed calls for an expansion of both permanent and non-permanent members of the Council, as well as improvement in the working methods of the panel.

“Mauritius remains firmly committed to the Ezulwini Consensus, which calls for two seats in the category of permanent members and five non-permanent seats for Africa,” he said.

Mr. Soborun said India should be awarded a permanent Council seat, and so should a country from the Latin American and Caribbean region.

 

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