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President Julius Maada Bio Updates on Progress to advance the Common African Position on the UN Security Council

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Monday 10 February 2020 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has presented his update on progress so far and underscored the dynamics of the United Nations Security Council, UNSC, reform process, which he is leading as chairman of the Committee of Ten (C-10) Heads of State and Government.

He informed the floor at the ongoing AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that their twenty-first report specifically highlighted their inter-governmental negotiation (ING) process and efforts they had made to advance the common African position.

“With the support of this Assembly, we have consistently presented, advocated, and canvassed the Common African Position. We have, in that regard, succeeded in placing the Common African Position on a more solid foundation within the reform process. Through the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration, we have sought a comprehensive reform that will assure Africa of its rightful place at the UN Security Council,” he said. 

President Bio also emphasised that their call was a continental aspiration that was in accord with the principles and purposes of the UN and firmly anchored on the principle of common justice, adding that that explained why the AU position would continue to enjoy greater and greater legitimacy.

“Africa is the world’s second-largest and second-most-populous continent. We constitute 1.3 billion of the world’s population. Over 60% of the decisions made in the Security Council directly or indirectly affect the African continent. Africa contributes its fair share of personnel and resources to the UN and its activities.

“Against this background, Africa’s demand for two permanent seats with all the prerogatives and privileges, including the right of Veto, and two additional Non-permanent seats, is therefore even more legitimate, and ought to be addressed. We demand representation on the world stage. We must not continue to undercut our influence on the world stage. We must remain steadfast and continue to stand together in pushing our common agenda to ensure that Africa takes its rightful position on global matters,” he said.

The C-10 chairman and President of Sierra Leone further called for continued unity and to speak consistently with one voice on the substantive and procedural issues on the reform of the UNSC, adding that they had undertaken a number of high-level consultative meetings, including the Summit of C-10 Heads of State and Government, Meeting of Foreign Ministers to intensively engage other interest groups and stakeholders like the current Five Permanent Members (P-5), China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

“I recently embarked upon consultations with my peers and colleagues within and outside Africa. I intend to continue with these consultations in line with emerging issues and progress made. We are, however, resolved more than ever, to make greater meaningful progress that will lead to the achievement of our objectives. We continue to urge unity of purpose around our shared aspirations and values. The journey may seem to be long but we do believe that we will eventually get there,” he assured.

Meanwhile, the C-10 had adopted an approach that was focused on guiding the discussions in the upcoming meetings of the inter-governmental negotiation on rectifying the historical injustice done to the continent. 

“UN Member States, including all interest groups, have over the last fifteen years, held onto their respective positions with no sign of flexibility. These positions, divergent as they are, have made it difficult to achieve decisive progress on the reform process,” he noted. 

So, in an effort to guide the Assembly on the way forward, President Bio proposed that: “All AU Member States should collectively underscore the imperative and legitimacy of the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration; restate our position on the Veto and resist the creation of a third category of membership of the Security Council; continue to resist an intermediate/transitional arrangement; continue to encourage other African countries to delink membership of other interest groups which creates the impression of a divided Africa; continue to defend, promote and advocate the Common African Position on all aspects of the reform at every opportunity”.

He, therefore, added that in order to be cohesive, as well as to achieve greater impact, the C-10 would draft an appropriate common language that would strongly advocate and canvass the Common African position and should be included in the respective statements by Member States at the Fifty-Seventh United Nations General Assembly in September this year.

“In presenting the 21st Report together with its draft Decision for adoption; allow me, esteemed colleagues, to state that in view of the recognition of the legitimacy of the African demand we must continue to resist the temptation and efforts by the other Member States and Interest Groups to divide and distract Africa from its Common Position. Africa should stay the course, continue to speak with one voice, and remain united on all aspects of the UN Security Council reform process,” he concluded.

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