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Zuma calls for African voice at Security Council

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Zuma calls for African voice at Security Council

South African president Jacob Zuma has called for a fundamental overhaul of the United Nations Security Council, arguing that Africa should play a much larger role in the body.

Speaking at the UN General Assembly in New York, Zuma said it was unacceptable that no African countries hold a permanent seat.

“Almost no progress has been achieved on the commitment made by heads of state and government in 2005 to early reform at the UN Security Council. It is unacceptable and unjustifiable that one billion people in the African continent are still excluded as permanent members,” he said.

Zuma has targeted a permanent South African seat at the Security Council as a key plank of his foreign policy agenda. The council has recently been heavily criticised for decision-making paralysis, particularly in relation to the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Zuma used his New York address to argue that Europe remains overrepresented. France, Russia and the UK sit alongside China and the United States as permanent members.

“A continent with a smaller population than Africa is represented by 3 countries on the UN Security Council as permanent members. This is unfair. The UN cannot pretend that the world has not changed since 1945,” he said.

“The UN Security Council must take into account the views of the African continent and its sub-regional organisations when dealing with conflicts in Africa in the future.”

Zuma also used his General Assembly address to set out his long-standing opposition to Western interventions in Africa and the Middle East, arguing that the conflict in Libya had fuelled the current refugee crisis in Europe and provoked regional instability.

“The current situation in Libya and the Sahel is a direct consequence of some members of the UNSC not heeding informed council from the African Union. The norm of responsibility to protect was abused for narrow political interests that had nothing to do with the fundamental aspects of the provision,” he said.

The South African president also called for the General Assembly to play a greater role in the election of the UN Secretary General. The Secretary General is currently appointed on the recommendation of the Security Council.

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Written by David Thomas

David Thomas is Digital Editor at IC Publications, covering New African and African Business magazines. He has previously been published at Dow Jones, the Financial Times, and South Africa's Cape Times newspaper.

  • Japhet Mwaya

    I would like to support the South African president, Jacob Zuma, upon his call for African Voice at the UN Security Council. It seems UN is segregating Africa in this score.It is only Africa which lacks permanent representation at the Security Council. Asia, Europe, Americas all are represented. Why not Africa? Is Africa not part of UN? UN cannot claim a world status if it excludes Africa in its operations.

  • Masaneh Jammeh

    While the principle of fairness and commonsense calls for equal representation at the level of the UN Security Council and president Jacob Zuma, like any other African president could raise the argument in favour of Africa, it remains to be seen which African Country is adequately ready to assume in the fullest such a position in the interest of Africa. In addition what bemused me is South Africa’s desire to occupy this seat for Africa. I am really doubtful about how South Africa can adequately defend the interest of Africa at the Security Council, when it remained callous and indifferent in the face the Afro-phobic attacks unleashed on fellow Africans in that country earlier this year. In my opinion South Africa lacks the moral standing to speak for Africa when in recent history it has maltreated African migrants worst than any country in the world. Jacob Zuma should leave Africa’s representation at the security and instead seek policies that would bridge the persistently prevalent economic gaps and raise the millions of black south Africans wallowing in penurious living conditions.

  • Kunta

    President Jammeh of Gambia has also been calling for Africa’s permanent seat at the UNSC for the past years. Where are all African Heads of States, rather than appeasing the West? No wonder we are not getting anywhere .

  • exa

    Africans are being lectured, babysat and tutored by everybody. How serious an African veto with a permanent seat in the security council will be? What power will the African nation have to make sure their position matters and not ignored?
    Every European, Asian and North American country plan summits with 50 African heads of states to lecture, babysit and tutor them.
    Will our head of states be going to those summits for begging and to be told what to do with the African Veto at UN?

    – USA and 50 African head of states summit for the development of the continent.
    – Canada and 50 African head of states summit for the development of the continent.
    – Australia and 50 African head of states summit for the development of the continent.
    – Brasil and 50 African head of states summit for the development of the continent.
    – France and 50 African head of states summit for the development of the continent.
    – Germany and 50 African head of states summit for the development of the continent.
    – UK and 50 African head of states summit for the development of the continent.
    – Russia and 50 African head of states summit for the development of the continent.
    – Italy and 50 African head of states summit for the development of the continent.
    – Belgium and 50 African head of states summit for the development of the continent.
    – Spain and 50 African head of states summit for the development of the continent.
    – Portugal and 50 African head of states summit for the development of the continent.
    – China and 50 African head of states summit for the development of the continent.
    – India and 50 African head of states summit for the development of the continent.
    – Japan and 50 African head of states summit for the development of the continent.
    – Saudi Arabia and 50 African head of states summit for the development of the continent.
    – Iran and 50 African head of states summit for the development of the continent.
    – Qatar and 50 African head of states summit for the development of the continent.
    – Bahrain and 50 African head of states summit for the development of the continent.
    – United Arab Emirates and 50 African head of states summit for the development of the continent.

  • mandeya

    Africa should form is its own grouping modeled along the United Nations, complete with its own Security Council and a Continental Court of Justice. Making noise in New York will not bring solutions to African challenges. Meanwhile, Britain and America are making billions of dollars from diamonds, gold and platinum extracted from Africa.

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