South Africa serves on Security Council again

Baso Sangqu

South Africa is this month starting a two-year term as a non-permanent member of the Security Council.

The Council is the principal organ of the United Nations responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security. South Africa served on the Council from 2007 to 2008.

Ambassador Baso Sangqu explained to UN Radio’s Derrick Mbatha why it’s important for his country to serve on the Security Council again.

SANGQU: As you know, almost 70 per cent of the issues before the Security Council are issues from Africa. So it is very critical that Africa is represented at the table when these conflicts are being discussed with a view to resolving them. We took our mandate from the African Union because on the continent we have the African Union which has got Peace and Security Council which also is seized with discussing issues of peace and security on the continent. And we believe that we played our part in terms of contributing to a better working relationship and better understanding between the two organs. We come again now in 2011 and 2012 humbly again having been endorsed by the African Union and we will continue to play this role which we believe is very critical in the resolution of conflicts, especially those that are taking place in Africa.

MBATHA: How important is South Africa’s participation in the Security Council is happening at the same time as that of Nigeria, another very important power on the continent?

SANGQU: We believe that the voice of Africa on the Security Council has to be strong and has to be very loud and clear. And to an extend that you have Nigeria on the Council, which has been playing a very important role already in the past year, you had Uganda which has played a very important role, you have Gabon which continues to play an important role, we believe that South Africa will join forces with these important countries on the continent to try to raise a strong voice on the Council.

MBATHA: Is there any particular issue or issues that South Africa would like the Security Council to deal with?

SANGQU: In the main, when you are a member of the Security Council you have to deal with all the issues that are before the Security Council, be it issues in the Middle East crisis, in particular the Israeli-Palestinian issue, which believe that its resolution is long overdue. We have got issues of non-proliferation and issues of disarmament that the Council is dealing with. This is over and above, of course, looking at the many issues that are taking place on the continent. We are very pleased with the positive progress that is being registered in terms of the implementation of the CPA in particular with the referendum that is under way now. We are also dealing with the question of Cote d’Ivoire at the present moment. We are hopeful that the mediation process will yield results soon. We have to deal with all these issues that are before the Security Council, improve the working methods of the Council so that the decisions it takes are seen by the total global populace to be legitimate.

MBATHA: You referred to the CPA, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the North and South Sudan.

SANGQU: Exactly. What I am saying there is that there is a referendum that is under way and which will allow the people of Southern Sudan to determine their own destiny.

MBATHA: Earlier you mentioned the need for the Security Council to improve its methods. Of course, one issue that arises is that of the reform of the Security Council which has been discussed several times but nothing seems to be happening. What is your take on that?

SANGQU: Well, the reform of the Security Council is very paramount and very crucial. You have a Council now that is a reflection of 60 years when the United Nations was formed. The argument is that the global society has moved forward. There are emerging powers who could provide strong leadership in the Council and who could make a very strong contribution in terms of the mandate of the Security Council. From Africa, as you know, we decry the fact that the whole of the continent is not permanently represented in the Council when, in fact, most of the cases are African issues. To that extent, African leadership has said that Africa deserves two permanent seats. And the ongoing negotiations that are taking place need to re-energized.

MBATHA: Do you think South Africa will be considered as one of the permanent members of the Council.

SANGQU: (Chuckles) That’s a good question. But, as you know, the Ezulwini Consensus says we want two seats and Africa will decide. Obviously, we make bold of the fact that South Africa is a contending state for the permanent seat should that happen.

MBATHA: Ambassador Sangqu, at the end of the two-year term of South Africa’s participation in the Security Council what will make you say, looking back, that it was worth it?

SANGQU: Of course, my Minister has made it clear that the choice that we make in investing in this kind of undertaking is that of making sure that we attain peace and we attain stability that will then lead to development. The cost of people dying is too much than the cost that we are paying in trying to resolve the conflict. And, at the end of the day, the measure that we will use is whether South Africa has contributed to the resolution of conflicts and laid the basis then for Africa to move forward with sustainable development.

That was Ambassador Baso Sangqu, the representative of South Africa to the United Nations.

Filed under Today's Features.
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