By Amara Thoronka
Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio, who doubles as Chairperson of the African Union Committee of Ten (C-10) on the reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has on 6 February 2022 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia made a strong case for Africa to have a seat at the UNSC.
In his presentation, President Bio said although they had 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.