Africa must speak with one voice-Kutesa

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Hon Sam K. Kutesa, minister of Foreign Affairs

I bring you greetings from President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who has been unable to be here today.

On behalf of my delegation and on my own behalf, I thank the Government and People of Equatorial Guinea for the warm hospitality accorded to us since our arrival in this beautiful country and the excellent facilities put at our disposal for this important meeting.

I would like to thank your Excellency President Teodoro Obiang Nguema and your Excellency President Bai Koroma of the Republic of Sierra Leone, the co-chairs for convening this important meeting.

Security Council reform is an integral part of our broader efforts to transform the United Nations into a more effective and democratic global institution.

Discussions about reform of the United Nations Security Council have been held since the Council came into being almost 72 years ago.

Not much has been achieved since, but what is clear is that the need to reform the Council continues to be of great importance and interest to member states.

I hope that our consultations will provide an impetus for change and move this process forward.

Uganda is proud with the support of Africa to have made an important contribution in moving the process forward during the 69th session of the UN General Assembly which I presided over.

During this session a Framework Document was adopted and a decision made by the General Assembly to build on the important work undertaken during the session.

Taking stock of what has happened thus far shows that there have been a range of proposals and negotiables in all five clusters of reform.

Africa has been consistent in calling on a focus on all of them, because of their interconnectedness in bringing about a comprehensive reform of the Security Council.

Political commitment and will is required to make reform possible for a more equally representative, democratic and effective Security Council.

Reform of the Security Council has remained at the top of the agenda of the African Union and successive summit meetings have reaffirmed commitment to the ‘African Common Position’ on reform of the UN Security Council.

The approach taken by Africa in this reform process is a correct one, and a reflection of the continent’s aspirations.

First; African issues dominate the Security Council agenda and therefore the vast majority of decisions made by the Council affect African countries.

Second; over the last few years, Africa has shown its commitment to conflict prevention, mediation and resolution as demonstrated by its leadership and response to conflict situations on the continent, such as in Somalia.

Therefore, for a continent with 54 countries, a population of over one billion people and demonstrable political commitment, the continent needs a stronger voice in the global political debate, which will increase the legitimacy of the decisions of the Council and foster its effectiveness.

This position remains valid and a viable option in the reform process and it continues to carry strong support/sympathy from the general UN membership.

It is critical that Africa remains cohesive and united and continues to speak with one voice.

We are aware that reforming the composition of the existing permanent membership and the issue of the veto remains at its core.  It may not be easy but we must not relent.

Africa’s position on these matters for; two permanent seats with all the rights and obligations of current members, including the veto and additional non-permanent seats, is to give an equal say in decision making on issues that concern our continent.

It is essential that the Security Council’s membership, in the permanent and non-permanent category, is equitable and reflects today’s geopolitical realities.

Africa should be ready to work with all states and groups to achieve a reformed, more representative and accountable council.  But this reform must be meaningful.

I wish to underscore the commitment by Uganda within the framework of the C-10 to engage actively in the intergovernmental negotiations in the interest of moving the process forward, to achieve a comprehensive reform of the United Nations Security Council.

I thank you.

Statement by Hon Sam K. Kutesa, minister of Foreign Affairs, at summit of committee of ten Heads of State and Government 16th May 2017 Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

 

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