Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister , Dr. Samura Kamara, yesterday addressed the UN Security Council Reform intergovernmental negotiations as the African Union turns on the heat in her quest to gain permanent seats and use of the Veto in the Security Council.
Dr. Kamara’s historic appearance at the IGN , his participation and the fact that he delivered a statement on behalf of Africa ( Usually done by the Permanent Representative ) sent a very strong message that Africa has become more robust in canvassing support and in the promotion and propagation of the common African position in the Security Council reform negotiations.
WE BRING YOU THE FULL STATEMENT DELIVERED BY THE MINISTER
STATEMENT by HON. DR. SAMURA M. W. KAMARA
Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation
on the Question of Equitable Representation on and increase
in the Membership of the Security Council and
other matters related to the Council
New York, 12th June 2017
I am pleased to take the floor on behalf of the African Group on the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Council.
I bring you Co-Chairs and esteemed delegations warm felicitation from the C-10 coordinator, His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and His Peers of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State and Government on UN Reforms.
We thank you for convening this fifth meeting of the informal Plenary on the Intergovernmental Negotiations, and also for your introductory remarks.
Let me seize this opportunity to commend the President of the General Assembly H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson for his leadership and commitment to the reform process.
Let me also convey our appreciation to you Co-Chairs for providing us with a second revision of the “Food for Thought Elements” paper. We further wish to express sincere gratitude to the previous Chairs of the IGN in facilitating the process, which have in no small measure contributed in keeping the process alive with a fair level of momentum.
At the outset, we would like to reiterate the firm commitment of the entire continent of Africa towards advancing this very important issue of reform to its logical conclusion. We look forward to working with you and the entire UN membership in building consensus that is in accord with General Assembly Decision 62/557, but of course favourable to the Common African Position, as enshrined in the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration.
Moving forward, the African Union Committee of Ten on UN Security Council reform (C-10) has been, and will continue to be actively engaged in holding consultations with Member States with a view to achieving an outcome that enjoys the widest possible political acceptance that addresses the African demands, being the only group of countries in the UN that is not represented in the Permanent category and grossly under-represented in the Non-permanent category of the UN Security Council respectively.
With very few exceptions, there is an evolving agreement among interest groups and Member States on the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council on all the five negotiable clusters, including expanding the Security Council in both the Permanent and Non-permanent categories. These proposals and positions are in conformity with the present structure of the Security Council in terms of categories of membership. An expansion of the Security Council within the existing categories of membership will accordingly ensure that the Security Council is made inclusive, accountable, transparent, accessible and effective, and thus, rendering greater partnership and legitimacy to its decisions. Decisions that dictate and govern the path to global peace and stability, as well as socio-economic development and prosperity.
Demonstrating the necessary commitment and political will by the entire UN membership is therefore significant to achieving a reform that would ensure and strengthen the role of the United Nations as the center of global governance, as well as creating a world order based on the principles of common justice and universalism. In this regard, the African Group calls for adherence to the principles of equity and democracy to further enhance the legitimacy of the Security Council.
Regarding your “Food for Thought Elements” paper, the African Group observes that both the original and the two subsequent revisions do not fully reflect the letter and spirit of the Common African Position. The paper is also not consensual. It is important to note that one issue that underscores the widest possible consensus emerging from the IGN process is that Africa should be represented within the Permanent category, being the only continent that is not represented in that category, as well as its under-representation in the Non-permanent category, and thus, address not only the historical injustice currently prevailing, but also reflect current geo-political and Socio-economic realities.
Furthermore, the issue as articulated in your “Food for Thought Elements” paper relating to whether a country represents only itself in the Security Council, or its region, or the entire UN membership, needs to be looked at in terms of the principle of the Charter. It is also appropriate within the consensual call for greater emphasis on regional integration and cooperation to improve and sustain global economic and political governance. It is acknowledged that the UN comprises sovereign states and is further divided into five regions, among which, only one,; namely, Africa is absent in the Permanent Category of the Security Council. This is a calculated error that ought to be corrected. It is improper to deviate from the realities of this principle by requesting us to name our candidates to the Security Council prior to the allocation of the two seats to Africa in the Permanent category. the We have reiterated that our candidate to the Permanent Category will be a matter for the Africa Union to decide, which will be in line with the relevant
Charter provision on the criteria for Permanent membership. This is currently what obtains for election to the Non-Permanent Category of the Security Council.
Africa’s demand for at least two Permanent seats with all the rights, prerogatives and privileges accorded to the current members, and two additional Non-permanent seats is a matter of common justice and the right to have an equal say in decision-making on issues of international peace and security, and in particular those that concern our region. The Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration are products of a common consensus reached by African Heads of State and Government. The Common African Position therefore champions our common aspiration for the full representation of Africa in all decision-making organs of the UN, particularly the Security Council, which is the principal decision-making Organ on matters relating to international peace and security. To this end, we want to call on the UN membership to adhere to the principles and criteria of the reform process.
Furthermore, with regards to Categories of Membership, it is evident that during this session, a greater majority of Member States including the P-5, have been calling for expansion in both categories of the Security Council. In view of this, expansion in the Permanent category should not be put in the same pedestal as longer-term seats or transitional options, because that kind of proposal as expressed in Para 4 (b) under the heading “Issues for further Consideration”, clearly represents an importation of an entirely new category which falls outside the scope of the existing categories of membership of the Security Council.
In this regard, we reject any notion of longer-term seats, step-by-step approach, intermediary or any other transitional options as they are not in consonance with the Common African Position. The UN Charter as you the Co-Chairs have pointed out, recognizes only two categories, and not three or more Permanent and Non-Permanent categories. Decision 62/557 also refers to categories of Membership, this clearly and unequivocally represents the provision made by the UN Charter and so it does not necessitate specification, clarification and or qualification.
The paper does not reflect the spirit and letter of the Common African Position. It is also our view that the paper is not adequately reflective of the tenor of the discussions during this session.
In conclusion, distinguished Co-Chairs, I would like to acknowledge the support the Common African Position continues to garner in these deliberations. Our claim for two Permanent seats in the Security Council with all the rights, privileges and prerogatives, and the need to correct Africa’s under-representation in the Non-permanent category is legitimate and ought to be addressed without further delay. We profoundly appreciate esteemed delegations that continue to express support for Africa’s legitimate aspirations to correct the historical injustice done to the continent and its people, while also reflecting geopolitical realities. As such, Africa looks forward to more constructive engagement and goodwill from all Member States to move this process forward.
I thank you for your attention.