Speech of the Minister Attaf to the ministerial meeting of member countries of theGroup of Ten-African Union
Excellency Mister Chair,
Excellencies Ministers and Heads of delegations,
Ladies and gentlemen,
- Let me start by expressing our deep gratitude to our honorable host, our brother Minister Simeón Oyono, and through him to the Government and people of the sisterly Republic of Equatorial Guinea, for the generous hospitality extended to us and for all the fraternal marks of attention and kindness we have been surrounded with since our arrival to this beautiful city of Oyala.
- Likewise, I would like to commend you, Mr. Chair, for the sustained and strong leadership that your country, the sisterly Republic of Sierra Leone, has demonstrated, throughout the last 18 years, in spearheading our Committee’s work and engagement. We, undoubtedly, owe you special and sincere thanks for the work well done in promoting the African Common Position on the reform of the Security Council.
- As we gather today, hotbeds of crises, tensions and conflicts multiply, accumulate and expand. Africa is the continent feeling the most their severe effects and impacts. Peoples affected hear no echo to their plight. They see no helping hand extended to them. The world community appears to them desperately ineffective and helpless.
- The system of collective security is going through a global crisis. Its main tool, the UN Security Council, is in a state of paralysis. More and more concerns are being voiced regarding this situation, and more and more appeals are being made to remedy that same situation to prevent it from deteriorating further and getting out of control.
- Let us say in unequivocal terms that Africa stands ready to contribute its fair share to the collective effort aimed at tackling this unfortunate world state of affairs with commitment, resolution and dedication. This applies to the reform of the UN Security Council.
- As we look at the recent developments in this regard, we are particularly delighted by the wide support the African Common Position continues to enjoy among UN Member States and interest groups. We take this as a token of recognition of both the legitimacy and the relevance of Africa’s longstanding demand as articulated in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration.
- Moving forward, this delegation is of the view that our Committee is ought to remain fully engaged in the Intergovernmental Negotiations Process (IGN). Our road map should include engagements with all stakeholders to build on the progress achieved so far, with the ultimate goal of garnering the widest possible understanding and support for Africa’s legitimate aspirations and fair objectives.
- In our collective fair and sound assessment, the African Common Position is different from all other positions expressed within the IGN so far. The reason being, on one hand, that our position embodies the collective will of the 55 Member States of the African Union, and on the other hand, that it aims first and foremost to correct the historical injustice imposed on our continent. As such, our narrative should focus more on this undeniable fact to highlight the special case of Africa and the need for this case to be considered and set as a priority and as matter of urgency in the reform process.
- In the same vein, we should be very cautious about any attempt to draw this process to a premature conclusion, or any piecemeal approach that would further exacerbate the difficulties that the Security Council is currently suffering from. What is needed the most is a comprehensive approach that will hopefully lead us to a more representative Council, and at the same time a more efficient one.
- We are fully aware that the relationship between representation and effectiveness is a very complex one. Representation alone cannot ensure and guarantee effectiveness. And effectiveness without better and fairer representation would unavoidably prove both unrealistic and unachievable.
- From our perspective, this dilemma can be overcome if we extend the debate to include the rules governing the functioning of the Security Council, its decision-making process, as well as its interactions with the wider UN system. In other words, all the clusters identified in the reform process should be dealt with simultaneously and in a comprehensive, coherent and global manner.
- Last but not least, we all agree that Africa speaking with one voice on this issue, and on all other matters affecting our continent, is a must. We have all seen how this paid off with the African Union becoming recently a full member of the G-20. We should therefore give due consideration to the compelling need to put our house in order by getting all African countries recommit and reengage under the umbrella of the African Common Position on the UN Security Council Reform. We are indeed dutybound to remain faithful to our common position, because it is sound, because it is fair, and because it is fully responsive to our collective concerns and interests.
- This is, in our view, the only way forward to ensure that our collective voice weights in this process towards promoting a healthy multilateral system grounded on the rules, principles and ideals enshrined in the UN Charter.
I thank you for your kind attention.
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