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African nations push for permanent Security Council representation

African nations push for permanent Security Council representation

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister for International Relations & Cooperation of South Africa
Top officials from three African nations have called for the continent to have a permanent representative on the Security Council, saying it was a travesty that the region that comprises so much of the body’s work does not have a permanent place.

South Africa’s Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told the General Assembly’s annual general debate today that a transformation of the United Nations will not be complete until there is a “fundamental reform” of the Council, which currently has 15 members.

The Council must be “truly representative of the membership and effectively responsive to international crises as mandated by the Charter of the UN,” she said.

Ms. Nkoana-Mashabane said the UN had in general during its history shown its relevance and responsiveness to the diversity of the now 192-member organization.

In particular, she praised the world body for the role it played in the process of decolonization, “bringing the much cherished freedom and independence to the peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America” and helping to dismantle the apartheid system in South Africa.

The Foreign Minister met with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today on the margins of the General Assembly, discussing several regional issues, including the situation in Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Also today, Swaziland’s King Mswati III told the General Assembly that his nation backs the so-called Ezulwini Consensus regarding reform of the Security Council.

This consensus, developed in the Swazi town of Ezulwini in 2005, states that Africa should be given two permanent seats and five non-permanent seats on an expanded Council.

The King said he was hopeful that negotiations, which have lasted for nearly two decades, could be wrapped up in the next year.

Basile Ikouebe, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Congo, stressed in his address last night that both the composition and the working methods of the Council should be reformed to ensure it is more responsive and effective.

Mr. Ikouebe also called for the General Assembly to be strengthened to make it more efficient.