South African President Jacob Zuma harshly criticised the UN Security Council for not taking in new permanent members and locking out entire regions, especially the African continent from the body’s decision-making process.
“We wish to emphasise that the UN Security Council must take into account the views of the African Continent and its sub-regional organisations when dealing with conflicts in Africa in future,” Zuma told world leaders at the UNGA debate on Monday.
“The current situation in Libya and the Sahel region is a direct consequence of some members of the UN Security Council not heeding informed counsel from the African Union,” he added.
Chinese President Xi jinping, who spoke before Zuma, announced Beijing would provide $100 million of free military assistance to the African Union in the next five years to support the establishment of an African standby force and enhance African crisis response capacity.
“China will continue to stand together with developing countries, especially African countries. China’s vote in the UN will always side with developing countries,” claimed Xi.
With more than 80 per cent of issues taken up by the Security Council relating to African affairs and not a single permanent member from Africa, the UN has battled with issues of legitimacy and representativeness.
“It is unacceptable and unjustifiable that more than one billion people in the African continent are still excluded as permanent members of the key decision making structure of the United Nations, the UN Security Council. A continent with a smaller population than Africa is represented by three countries on the UN Security Council as permanent members,” said Zuma.
“The UN cannot pretend that the world has not changed since 1945. We are no longer colonies. We are free, independent sovereign states,” he added.
The UNSC, which has powers to authorize military action, impose sanctions and set up peacekeeping operations, has 10 rotating members. The US, China, Russia, France and Britain are permanent members which wield a veto.
The South African leader on Monday also said the refugee crisis in EU is “the direct result of the militarisation of civilian unrest which included the massive arming of civilians and opposition groupings in Libya and Syria and other affected countries”.
Zuma, in his UNGA speech, also criticized what he called “the regime change doctrine and its role in perpetuating conflicts and instability”.
BRICS members, India, South Africa and Brazil have bid for permanent membership of the UNSC.
The 54-nation African continent has a representation of only three non-permanent members without veto power in the UNSC.
Meanwhile in New York, the South African President, while praising the UN General Assembly for approving a resolution to allow the Palestinian flag to fly in front of the UN headquarters, also urged the world body to aid Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation.
“There can be no peace, security and development in the Middle East without the resolution of the Palestinian question. A solution is urgent otherwise if we delay, in the next decade, we may no longer have a piece of land to justify the two state solution,” said Zuma.
Even as Zuma spoke in New York, clashes erupted for a second day in a row on Monday in occupied Jerusalem after Israeli security forces stormed al-Aqsa Mosque compound and fought with Palestinian worshippers.
Earlier last month, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin declared that Israeli settlers had the “right” to build illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.