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West African Countries Urge Reform

West African Countries Urge Reform Of Security Council

New York, Sep 22 2006 7:00PM

Joining their voices to numerous others calling for reform of the Security Council at this year’s General Assembly debate, leaders of West African countries have urged granting Africa a permanent seat on the powerful body.

“Senegal regrets the status quo involving a deadlock in the negotiations to the detriment to a region such as ours which, while it is the focal point of the Council’s agenda does not have a single permanent seat,” said Abdoulaye Wade, the country’s President, on Thursday. He called this a “historic injustice” which must be rectified by granting Africa a seat with the right to veto, œregardless of the overall nature of the reform.

Mr. Wade hailed reforms that have begun to adapt the UN to the world’s changing realities. In particular, he lauded the creation of the new Human Rights Council and Peacebuilding Commission, voicing hope that this “will allow for better promotion of human rights and more effective management of post-conflict periods.”

Moctar Ouane, the Foreign Minister of Mali, also welcomed the reforms which had given rise to the Peacebuilding Commission and Human Rights Council, but said these should not overshadow the need to reform the Security Council. He called the Peacebuilding Commission one of the major outcomes of the 2005 World Summit, noting that management of post-conflict situations had been a weak link in the Organization's work.

“Progress made should not overshadow the fact that much remains to be done particularly with respect to the necessary reform of the Security Council,” he said. The need was widely accepted, yet none of the proposed formulas had enjoyed consensus. Mali “supports Africa’s claim to have two permanent seats and five non-permanent seats, he said, arguing that this would allow the Council to be more representative.

Aichatou Mindaoudou, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and African Integration of Niger, said that, more than ever before, the international community was confronted by challenges to peace and security, although positive changes had taken place in managing conflicts in places such as Burundi, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Those developments served as a reminder of the need for a decision-making mechanism that could address any threats to international peace and security, regardless of their complexity.

Only a reform of the Security Council, accompanied by a revitalization of the General Assembly, could enhance the legitimacy and effectiveness of those bodies, particularly if they took into account equitable representation accompanied by an improvement in working methods, she said. Only a fair enlargement of the Council could improve its function and provide a basis acceptable to everyone.

Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar, Prime Minister of Mauritania, joined others in welcoming the creation of the Human Rights Council and the Peacebuilding Commission, saying they would improve the ability of the UN to tackle two of the world’s biggest concerns.

Great changes on the international scene had called for further UN reforms, he said, including a more dynamic General Assembly, a reactivated Economic and Social Council, and increased representation within the Security Council, taking into account not only major regions of the world such as Africa and Latin America or important country groups, but also industrialized countries which have made major contributions to the Organization, such as Germany and Japan. The Security Council also had to improve its methods of work, in order to ensure peace and security throughout the world.

Ends

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