Ambassador Amadu Koroma of Sierra Leone read the following statement in New York on behalf of the African Group. Sierra Leone is Coordinator of the African Union Committee of 10 ( C-10 ). Koroma is described as "The Deputy Permanent Representative (Political) Ambassador."
* * *
New York: I am pleased to take the floor on behalf of the African Union Member States on this important subject matter. We thank you for convening this 9th Round of the Intergovernmental Negotiations in the informal plenary on the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Council. In the same vein, while we commend you for your continued efforts, we wish to congratulate you once more on your reappointment and to reassure you of our sustained cooperation and commitment towards moving the process forward in accordance with General Assembly decision 62/557. We take note of your opening remarks as well as the letter of the President of the General Assembly dated 10 December 2013 and the Non-Paper attached thereto.
Today, as we engage in this round of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the reform of the Security Council, we convene with the hope of making meaningful progress, which we all know is long overdue. In spite of the existing tremendous difficulties in guiding and moving the process forward, Africa remains committed to the early reform of the Council, which in our view requires the commitment and political will of member states. We therefore continue to urge member states to step up cooperation and consultations that will move the process forward to a comprehensive reform of the Council.
We look forward to the outcome of this meeting with great expectation, hoping that decisive progress will be made during this session.
Africa remains convinced of the urgent need for a comprehensive reform of the Security Council, encompassing the five key clusters and taking into account their inter-linkages. This will, in accordance with the 2005 World Summit outcome decision, espouse the values, objectives and ideas of the UN Charter for a fairer world based on universality, equity and regional balance.
In that regard, we remain committed to building alliances as well as narrowing down divergences between different reform models that are favourable to the African common position.
Africa’s position on Security Council reform is well known. Being the only continent not represented in the permanent category and at the same time under-represented in the non-permanent category of the Council, we continue to demand the redress of this historical injustice that we continue to suffer.
Given the changing international landscape, we believe that the obsolete composition and the absence of adequate representation of an entire continent is a deficiency that risks compromising the legitimacy of the Council’s decisions. In this vein, we call for an expansion in the permanent and non-permanent categories of the Security Council as well as the granting to the new members of all the prerogatives and privileges of permanent membership including the right of veto, if it continues to exist.
On the process of the reform, Africa continues to call for consensus on the principles and criteria of the negotiations before embarking on any drafting exercise or the merging of positions in any document. The nuances in the respective positions of interest groups and member states can be better understood and resolved through this process. Also, we must endeavour to reach an agreement on how to move forward with the updated Rev 3 of the compiled text. This should take into consideration the various suggestions made and concerns raised on how to proceed with the document, including the letter by the C-10 of 16 May, 2013 addressed to your good-self.
The way forward on this is to revert to the agreed text of Rev.2 and seek the collective effort of the membership towards an acceptable abridged version. We believe that for any document to enjoy agreement by all in the IGN, it should be owned by the whole membership in accordance with General Assembly decision 62/557.
Africa will continue to hold consultations with all interest groups and the wider membership in an effort to achieve an early and comprehensive reform of the Council. In our quest to move the process forward, and in order to advance our position, we would continue to urge all interest groups, stakeholders and the wider UN membership to concretely support our position, which will no doubt lead to reforming the Council into a more inclusive, democratic, transparent, legitimate and effective organ.
I would like to convey sincere appreciation of the African Union Member States to the esteemed delegations that continue to express their support for the need to address the historical injustice of the continent along the lines of the demands of the Sirte Declaration and Ezulwini Consensus. As we have said often and again, Africa stands ready to work with all delegations in order to achieve a solution that can garner the widest possible political acceptance.
To that end Mr. Chairman, demonstrating political will by all stakeholders at this stage of the intergovernmental negotiations remains vital to achieving an early reform that assures the place of the United Nations at the heart of global governance as well as creating a world order based on the principles of democracy, equality, transparency and legitimacy.
In closing, let me reaffirm Africa’s commitment to achieving decisive progress during this session. We therefore call on the entire membership to take urgent concrete steps to correct, as a matter of priority, the injustice done to Africa, which we believe should be viewed along Africa’s demand as contained in the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declarations.
* * *
The preceding statement appears on the website SAFPI: South African Foreign Policy Initiative. It is sponsored by the Open Society Foundation for South Africa. SAFPI offers numerous other RSS feeds on various aspects of South African foreign policy.