President Bio makes strong case to reform United Nations Security Council 

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 February 2022:

Speaking yesterday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, President Dr Julius Maada Bio who serves as Chairperson of the African Union Committee of Ten (C-10) on the reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) said that although the committee has made progress, by embarking on a number of high-level consultative meetings, including the Summit of C-10 Heads of State and Government and the Meeting of Foreign Ministers, they must also remain steadfast to amplify the call for Africa to have an effective voice in the decision-making processes of the UNSC.

“Excellencies, in presenting the 22nd Report together with its draft Decision for adoption, let me conclude that our demand is legitimate and we must continue to resist the distractions and efforts made by other Member States and Interest Groups to divide and distract Africa from its Common Position.

“All Member States of the AU must remain vigilant, continue to speak with one voice and be unified on all aspects of the UN Security Council reform process,” he urged.

President Bio also reaffirmed Africa’s position on the Veto and opposed the creation of a third category of membership of the Security Council, which was not in compliance with the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration. He further re-echoed Africa’s rejection of any intermediate, transitional or intermediary approaches to the reform of the UN Security Council as they would undermine the Common African Position.

“Regrettably, there has been no substantive shift or narrowing down of the nuances in positions of Member States and Interest Groups. These divergent positions have made it challenging to achieve decisive progress on the reform process.

“The clusters on the ‘Question of the Veto, Regional Representation, the Categories of Membership and Size of the UN Security Council’ continue to be some of the main areas of contention in the [Intergovernmental Negotiations] IGN.

“Additionally, there is also the challenge of moving beyond procedural matters including the persistent call for text-based negotiations by a single negotiating document. Finally, there is also the challenge of the continual dual membership of African countries in other Interest Groups. This raises doubts about the cohesiveness and unity of Africa over our Common Position,” he said.

He, however, noted that in spite of those concerns, the Common African Position would remain unchallenged as the best means to redress the historical injustice, adding that Africa must therefore remain united and cohesive to continue to speak with one voice on both substantive and procedural matters.

“On behalf of the African Union Committee of Ten (C-10) Heads of State and Government on the Reform of the United Nations Security Council, let me also commend Your Excellencies for your unstinted and unwavering support for the work of the Committee,” he concluded.

You can read the President’s full statement here:

Your Excellency Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi, President of Democratic Republic of Congo and Chair of the AU; Excellencies, Heads of State and Government; Excellency, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission; Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

Permit me, from the outset, to acknowledge and appreciate our host, His Excellency Abiy Ahmed, and the People of Ethiopia for the warm and excellent hospitality accorded to us and our respective delegations since our arrival in this historic and beautiful city of Addis Ababa.

On behalf of the African Union Committee of Ten (C-10) Heads of State and Government on the Reform of the United Nations Security Council, let me also commend Your Excellencies for your unstinted and unwavering support for the work of the Committee. We are making progress on implementing our mandate to canvass, advocate, and promote the Common African Position on reform of the UN Security Council.

Excellencies, the report that has been circulated for your kind attention builds on previous reports and provides updates on the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) in the UN General Assembly; and efforts made by the C-10 to advance the Common African Position.

Excellencies, I am pleased to report to this Assembly that in January this year, our dear brother and colleague, His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda, graciously hosted the Ninth C-10 Consultative Ministerial Meeting in Kampala, Uganda. The outcome of that Ministerial Meeting is annexed to this 22nd Report of the C-10.

In Kampala, the Committee acknowledged the wide and broad support for the Common African Position that other Interest Groups and several UN Member States participating in the IGN meetings in New York have repeatedly articulated.

Although the positions of all UN Member states may not be in accord with the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration, the Committee, has agreed on an approach aimed at guiding the negotiations in the upcoming informal meetings of the IGN.

We seek comprehensive reforms that will accord Africa its rightful place at the UN Security Council. This is a continental aspiration entrenched in the principle of common justice, and in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations. Our claim for “Regional Representation” to address the current injustice in the composition of the UN Security Council remains a sound basis for our legitimate demand for reform as articulated in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration.

As a continent, we believe that this lack of equitable geographical representation in the UN Security Council directly contravenes the principles and purposes of the UN Charter and therefore undermines the legitimacy of the Council’s decisions.

We must remain steadfast. We must amplify the call for Africa to have an effective voice in the decision-making processes of the UN Security Council. We must continue to be united and to speak with one voice on both substantive and procedural matters on the reform of the UN Security Council until the legitimate demands of the Common African Position are achieved.

We have made progress. We have embarked on a number of high-level consultative meetings, including the Summit of C-10 Heads of State and Government, and the Meeting of Foreign Ministers. We have constructively engaged Interest Groups and key stakeholders, including the current Five Permanent members (P-5) of the UN Security Council.

I have equally embarked on consultations with my colleagues within and outside Africa. I plan to continue these engagements. Regrettably, there has been no substantive shift or narrowing down of the nuances in positions of Member States and Interest Groups. These divergent positions have made it challenging to achieve decisive progress on the reform process.

The IGN process continues to encounter challenges due to the nuances in interest and divergence in positions. States and Interest Groups remain opposed to regional representation and enlarging the UN Security Council in the Permanent category along with its current Veto Power structure.

The clusters on the “Question of the Veto, Regional Representation, the Categories of Membership and Size of the UN Security Council” continue to be some of the main areas of contention in the IGN. Additionally, there is also the challenge of moving beyond procedural matters including the persistent call for text-based negotiations by a single negotiating document.

Finally, there is also the challenge of the continual dual membership of African countries in other Interest Groups. This raises doubts about the cohesiveness and unity of Africa over our Common Position.

We must demonstrate our cohesiveness in advocating the Common African Position through our participation at the IGN meetings in New York and all other multilateral and bilateral fora on both substantive and procedural matters. We cannot afford to allow ourselves to be divided by other interest groups.

In spite of these concerns, the Common African Position remains unchallenged as the best means to redress the historical injustice. Africa must therefore remain united and cohesive and continue to speak with one voice on both substantive and procedural matters.

Excellencies, in seeking to guide this Assembly on the way forward, I wish to underline the following: That we reiterate the imperative and legitimacy of the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration;  That we reaffirm Africa’s position on the Veto and oppose the creation of a third category of membership of the Security Council, which is NOT in compliance with the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration;  That we re-echo Africa’s rejection of any intermediate, transitional or intermediary approaches to the reform of the UN Security Council as they will undermine the Common African Position; That we continue to implore other African countries to withdraw their membership from other interest groups to enhance the cohesiveness of the Common African Position and remove the impression of a divided Africa; That we reaffirm that all AU Member States should continue to defend, canvass, and promote the Common African Position on all facets of the reform at every opportunity.

In order to assure cohesiveness on the foregoing, the Committee will draft appropriate language, which firmly advocates and canvasses the Common African Position, for inclusion in our respective statements during the 77th United National General Assembly in September this year.

The Committee will also continue to constructively engage with the African Union Member States in New York for effective participation at the IGN meetings. Excellencies, in presenting the 22nd Report together with its draft Decision for adoption, let me conclude that our demand is legitimate and we must continue to resist the distractions and efforts made by other Member States and Interest Groups to divide and distract Africa from its Common Position.

All Member States of the AU must remain vigilant, continue to speak with one voice and be unified on all aspects of the UN Security Council reform process. I am pleased to report to notify this Assembly that the Republic of Congo has graciously offered to host the next Ministerial high-level meeting of the C-10.

I thank you for your attention.

1 Comment

  1. I think President Bio is wasting his breath.or trying to beat a dead horse here. The present security Council architecture has been jealously protected by the P5 powers. It will never happen given the geo – politics and economics of our times, and the way the United Nations security council was structured from the beginning of its existence just after the second world war. That is given veto powers to the five permanent members. The security Council is made of fifteen members. Ten of which are rotated amongst the hundreds or more members of the general assembly of the United nations. To understand why the five, or the P5 permanent members of the security would want to maintain the status quo, for the feasible future, look no further than the crisis engulfing Ukraine and Russia, on the one hand with Chinese tactical support of the Russian position to their opposition to NATO expansion towards their borders.

    And how the the United States, France and United Kingdom, and its Western allies see the issues of Ukraine, Syria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, the Iranian nuclear deal, Mali, CAR, and the DRC the world’s current hot-spots.And the recent coups in Africa . But as the refrain goes ‘Try and fail is no disgrace . Reforming the way the security Council is structured has been going on since its very inception. At the end of the second world war, the five allied victorious powers,United States, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, France, China and Russia were granted these seats over their victory of Hitlers Nazi Germany, Mossulini ‘s Facist Italy, and the war in the Pacific against imperial Japan. The five permanent members were given the powers, to coordinate and maintain world peace. And try to diffuse tension, be it civil wars, or larger States trying to invade smaller states. Nigeria , Japan, Germany, India, with larger population have been advocating for change for a long time. They rightly argued, most States were under Colonial rule, or under occupation, and was not in position to take part in voting or handing power to the P5 members.

    The security Council can be reformed if the P5 members have the willingness to allow it to happen. In 1971 the Nixon administration supported Communist China to take over the permanent seat from Republic of China, present day Taiwan as the sole representative of the Chinese people. Rightnow the United Nations security Council is undemocratic and doesn’t reflect the way the world’s population is distributed. Africa deserves three permanent seats. Sierra-leone will make an ideal candidate.

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