By KABS KANU :
When African leaders met in Addis Ababa for the 29th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union Summit from 3rd July to 4th July, 2017, they took an important decision that will have great impact on international peace and security in the future . They unanimously endorsed the 19th report of the Committee of 10 African Heads of State on the ongoing negotiations for the reform of the UN Security Council.
The decision of the African heads of state meant a successful outcome for the C-10 Heads of State Consultative Summit held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea from 14th to 17th May, 2017. The endorsement in Addis was an approval of the significant decisions of C-10, spearheaded by President Ernest Koroma, during the consultative conference with his peers in Malabo.
By endorsing the report with acclaim , the AU leaders were expressing profound confidence in the diplomatic capabilities of C-10 President Koroma, as well as giving full marks to the President for his leadership role in successfully steering C-10, which is a committee mandated to canvass, promote and propagate the Common African Position on the UN Security Council Reform Negotiations.
According to Ambassador Adikalie Foday Sumah, Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, who was at both Malabo and Addis , the unanimous adoption of the 19th Report , which contained the decisions and recommendations of C10 at the Malabo Consultative Conference, was a reflection of the tremendous respect AU leaders have for President Koroma and the total approval of his leadership of C10. It was also a further demonstration of the fact that C10 is in very capable and competent hands and that the future of the Common African Position is becoming brighter every day since President Koroma assumed the role of Chair of c-10 in 2007 when he became President of Sierra Leone.
African news outlets which covered the Malabo Consultative Conference lauded President Koroma’s staunch stand for speedy progress in charting the way forward for Africa in the Security Council Reform Negotiations. The Namibia Broadcasting Corporation ( NBC ), the African News, the Lusaka Times and the Zambia Daily Mail all reported about President Koroma’s strong and unequivocal stand that the historic injustice to Africa needs to be urgently addressed and the continent given the full representation it deserves at both categories ( Permanent and Non-Permanent ) of the United Nations Security Council .
According to NBC, “Koroma told the gathering that the options are; that seats are made available with equal voting powers – or voting powers are scrapped in total. He further noted that more drastic actions are needed, as it has been 12 years that Africa has been calling for reform. The Committee of Ten argues that suitable seats on the UN Security Council, is the only way to reflect Africa’s right to redress historical injustices done to the continent. ”
At Malabo, C10, in cooperation with President Koroma’s stance , decided that the Common African Position as espoused in Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration continue to be the only viable option to redress the historical injustice done to the African Continent and the reform of the UN Security Council should be comprehensive in accordance with Decision 62/557 of the UN General Assembly. Secondly, C-10 stressed the critical importance for heightened engagement with the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council. Thirdly, C-10 instructed the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the C-10 to come up with a proposed DECISION on a progressive approach for advancing the Common African Position on UN reform process, to be tabled at the AU Assembly in July 2017.
President Koroma’s performance at the Equatorial Guinea consultative Conference drew commendation right there in the Communique signed by the C-10 heads of state , which highly praised the President, in the following words :
“The Heads of State commended the efforts of the Coordinator, H.E. Dr Ernest Bai Koroma for his strong leadership and commitment in spearheading the pursuit of the C-10 mandate and advancing the objectives of the Common African Position on the reform of the United Nations Security Council.”
President Koroma’s determination to have the wheels of the reform negotiations accelerated fruitfully saw him sending his Foreign Minister, Dr. Samura Kamara, to New York last month to hold discussions with the AU Permanent Representatives at the UN as a follow-up on his request for greater integration of the African Union Commission and African institutions into the negotiations.
President Koroma is not only a star at home , whatever could be said by his detractors about the challenges facing the nation. He is also an international star and his name will forever be engraved in the annals of the AU for the exceptional work he has done for Africa as Chair of C-10, which will eventually address the historical injustice to the continent with Africa ultimately represented in the Permanent and Non-Permanent Categories of the UN Security Council . Credit will also be given to the competent men he has at the Sierra Leone Permanent Missions in New York and Addis, his foreign ministers and the Permanent Representatives of C10 at the UN, as well as the experts.
It may happen during the tenure of the President or it might not; but whatever the case, President Koroma and his team have already entered the hall of fame and victory for the brilliant initiatives they have masterminded in the negotiations to reform the UN Security Council.
In Part 11, I will examine the decisions taken by C-10 and endorsed by the AU leaders and then look at the road map to their implementation. A plan of action will be taken during the big C10 retreat scheduled for August.
It must be noted with pride to the nation that the proposed big push for the implementation of the decisions of the C10 , which will start with an engagement of the 5 Permanent Members of the UN Security Council , was a novel idea of Ambassador Sumah , as we will discuss also in Part 11.