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Mugabe engages France over UN Security Council seat

by Staff reporter
19 Jan 2017 at 12:44hrs | Views

President Robert Mugabe has engaged France's leader, Francois Hollande, to intervene in calls to include one of Africa's 54 States in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Mugabe ' currently on a month-long leave ' tabled the request last weekend during a closed-door meeting with Hollande at the two-day 27th edition of the French Africa-Summit in Bamako, Mali, according to State TV.  Earlier in his speech to the summit, Mugabe pressed France ' one of the five permanent members of the UNSC ' to ensure the continent secures the seat. Set up in 1946 by the winners of the World War II, the UNSC comprises of 15 members, five of them ' Britain, France, China, the United States and Russia ' permanent while 10 are non-permanent, serving for two years on a rotational basis.

"We welcome France's position on the UNSC reform, which supports the expansion of both permanent and non-permanent seats and takes into consideration the need to address the injustice felt by African countries," Mugabe told the 35 heads of State who attended the summit.

"Nevertheless, we call for progress in the long-running negotiations on this critical issue. Let me reiterate that the African position, which is contained in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration, remains unchanged since its reaffirmation at the last African Union (AU) Summit in Kigali," he said.

The Ezulwini Consensus, adopted by Sadc leaders in Swaziland in 2005, states that Africa demands at least two permanent seats ' including veto power ' and five non-permanent seats in the Security Council, with the AU choosing which countries would get the seats.

The Security Council is the UN's most powerful body and helps shape international law. But critics said it represents an international order that no longer exists ' that of France, UK, US, China and Russia as world "gendarmes".

In September last year, Mugabe told thousands of Zanu-PF supporters that he would mobilise other African countries to pull out of the UN in protest over the body's alleged refusal to reform the Security Council.

The 92-year-old leader said Africa would form a splinter group headed by China and Russia if the Security Council remained unchanged at next year's general assembly summit.

Stephen Chan, a professor of world politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London told the Daily News: ". . . The world is facing urgent problems which the current balance of power cannot properly address. No one wants to enlarge or alter that balance of power. As for Hollande, he is a lame-duck president, he is interested only in Francophonic Africa and the two candidates for a Security Council permanent seat are not Francophonic. They are Nigeria and South Africa, but neither of them is looking like a mature world power right now. Basically, this just isn't going to happen," he added.

An observer, Takura Zhangazha said while Mugabe's intentions were noble as the current UN structure was out-dated and definitely not reflective of the current world order, his campaign will fail given his tainted image and that most superpowers are not ready to open up and allow Africa to have veto power in the Security Council.

Source - dailynews