By Mathias Haufiku
WINDHOEK – President Hifikepunye Pohamba says it is high time Africa is accorded a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
The UNSC is one of six principal organs of the United Nations (UN) and is the only UN body whose resolutions are binding on member states.
Speaking yesterday during the annual greeting to members of the diplomatic corps at State House, Pohamba said the way should be paved for Africa to be given a seat on the UNSC, which is the view of other African leaders as well.
“We expect the 70th UN General Assembly to decisively pave the way towards the conclusion of negotiations on the reform of the United Nations system, especially the UN Security Council. It is indeed high time that the African continent takes its rightful place in the UN system, with an equal voice in the Security Council,” said Pohamba.
The event was attended by Prime Minister and President-elect Dr Hage Geingob, Founding President Dr Sam Nujoma, Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Theo-Ben Gurirab, ministers, members of the diplomatic corps and several heads of state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
African leaders have for the past decades unsuccessfully lobbied for Africa to be accorded a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, seeing that most issues dealt with by the Security Council are African issues.
Pohamba’s call comes at a time when neighbouring Zambia is preparing to host a meeting of 10 African leaders that will discuss reforms of the United Nations Security Council in Ethiopia.
Zambian foreign affairs minister, Harry Kalaba, was quoted by Zambian media recently saying the reforms are expected to culminate in a permanent seat for Africa on the UNSC.
African states have over the years failed to push for institutional reforms in the United Nations Security Council that are aimed at ensuring the continent is part and parcel of global security decisions taken by the United Nations.
The United Nations Security Council has 15 seats of which five are filled by permanent member states while the remaining 10 are non-permanent members.
The non-permanent seats are rotational, based on regional blocks.
The permanent members are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
African states have also demanded two permanent seats in the past on the basis of historical injustices and the fact that a large part of the Council’s agenda is concentrated on African issues – but no positive results were yielded.
The African bloc proposed at the time that the two seats be made permanent African seats and rotated between African countries chosen by the African group.